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men allow, that human societies may form themselves after any model, and make what laws they please for their wellbeing; and that the christian church has some things in common with all societies as such, as the appointing time and place, and the order of public worship, &c. but it must be remembered, that the christian church is not a mere voluntary society, but a community formed and constituted by Christ the sole king and law-giver of it, who has made sufficient provision for its well-being to the end of the world. It does not appear in the New Testament, that the church is empowered to mend or alter the constitution of Christ, by creating new officers, or making new laws, though the christian world has ventured upon it. Christ gave his church prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting the saints, and edifying his body; but the successors of the apostles in the government of the church, apprehending these not sufficient, have added patriarchs, cardinals, deams, archdeacons, canons, and other officials. The church is represented in scripture as a spiritual body; her ordinances, privileges, and censures, being purely such; but later ages have wrought the civil powers into her constitution, and kept men within her pale, by all the terrors of this world, as fines, imprisonments, banishments, fire and sword. It is the peculiar excellence of the gospel worship to be plain and simple, free from the yoke of jewish ceremonies; but the antichristian powers, thinking this a defect, have loaded it with numberless ceremonies of their own invention; and though there are laws in scripture sufficient for the direction of the church, as constituted by Christ and his apostles, they have thought fit to add so many volumes of ecclesiastical laws, canons, and injunctions, as have confounded, if not subverted, the laws of Christ. Whereas if men considered the church as a spiritual body, constituted by Christ its sole law-giver for spiritual purposes, they would then see that it had no concern with their civil rights, properties and estates, nor any power to force men to be of its communion, by the pains and penalties of this world. The laws of the New Testament would appear sufficient for the well-being of such a society; and in cases where there are no particular rules and injunctions,
that it is the will of Christ and his apostles, there should be liberty and mutual forbearance; there would then be no occasion for christian courts, (as they are called) por for the interposition of human authority, any further than to keep the peace. Upon the whole, as far as any church is governed by the laws and precepts of the New Testament, so far is it a church of Christ; but when it sets up its own by.laws as terms of communion, or works the pol. icy of the civil magistrate into its constitution, it is so far a creature of the state.
Mr. Hooker's two last propositions are inconsistent with the first principles of the reformation, viz. that all that are born within the confines of an established church, and are baptized into it, are bound to submit to its ecclesiastical laws under such penalties as the church in her wisdom shall direct. Must I then be of the religion of the country where I am born ? that is, at Rome a papist ; in Saxony a lutheran ; in Scotland a presbyterian ; and in England a diocesan prelatist ; and this under such penalties as the church in her wisdom shall think fit? Must I believe as the church believes, and submit to her laws right or wrong? Have I no right as a man and a christian, to judge and act for myself, as long as I continue a loyal and faithful subject to my prince? Surely religious principles and church communion should be the effect of examination and a deliberate choice, or they lose their name, and degener, ate into hypocrisy or atheism.
From general principles Mr. Hooker proceeds to vindicate the particular rites and ceremonies of the church, and to clear them from the exceptions of the puritans, which may easily be done when he has proved, that the church has a discretionary power to appoint what ceremonies, and establish what order she thinks fit; he may then vindicate not only the ceremonies of the church of England, but all those of Rome, for no doubt that church alledges all their ceremonies conducive to her well-being, and not inconsistent with the laws of Christ. $
$To Mr. Neal's remarks on the principles of the Ciecclesiastical polity," it may be added; that how jast and conclusive soever these principles are in themselves, they do not, they cannot apply to the vindication of
This year died Dr. John Aylmer, bishop of London, whose character has been sufficiently drawn in this history; he was born in Norfolk, educated in Cambridge, and in Queen Mary's reign an exile for religion; he was such a little man, that Fuller* says, when the searchers were clearing the sbip in which he made bis escape, the merchant put him into a great wine butt that had a partition in the middle, su ihat Mr. Aylmer sat inclosed in the hinder part, while the searchers drank of the wine which they saw drawn out of the head on the other part; he was of an active busy spirit, quick'in his language, and, after his advancement, of a stout and imperious behavior: in his younger days he was inclined to puritanism, but when he was made a bishop he became a resolute champion of the hierarchy, and a bitter persecutor of his former friends. In his latter days he was very covetous, and a little too lax in his morals: He usually played at bowls on Sundays in the afternoons; and used such language at his game, as justly exposed his character to reproach; but with all these blemishes, the writer of his life (Mr. Strype) will have him a learned, pious, and humble bishop. He died at Fulham, June 3, 1591, in the 74th year of his age. our religious establishment, till it be proved that its ceremonies and laws were fixed by the church. In whatever sense the word church is used; this is not the fact. Whether you understand by it, “a congregation of faithful men, or “all ecclesiastical persons,” or “an order of men who are set apart by christianity, and dedicated to this
very purpose of public instruction”-in neither sense were the forms and opinions of our established religion settled by the church. They originated with royal pleasure: they have changed as the will of our princes hath changed; they have been settled by acts of parliaments, formed illegally, corrupted by pensions, and overawed by prerogative, and they constitute part of the statute law of the land. See my Letters to the Rev. Dr. Sturges. 1782, p. 15—28. ED.
* Fuller's Worthies, b. ii. p. 248. || This prelate had been preceptor to Lady Jane Grey. During his residence in Switzerland, he assisted John Fox, in translating his Martyrology into Latin. It was usual with him, when he observed his audience to be inattentive, to take an Hebrew bible out of his pocket and read them a few verses, and then resume his discourse. It is related, as an instance of his courage, that he had a tooth drawn to encourage the Queen to submit to the like operation. But it is more to the honor of his judgment and patriotism, that notwithstanding his
Aylmer was succeeded by Dr. Fletcher bishop of Worcester, who in his primary visitation gave out twenty-seven articles of enquiry to the church-wardens concerning their preachers : as, whether they prayed for the Queen as supreme head over all persons and causes within her domin. ions, ecclesiastical and temporal ?— Whether they were learned-or frequented conventicles—or taught innovations -or commended the new discipline-or spoke in derogation of any part of the common prayer-or did not admin. ister the sacrament in their own persons at certain times of the year ? &c. By these, and such-like enquiries, the prisons which had been lately cleared, were filled again; for by an account sent to the Queen from the ecclesiastical commissioners towards the close of this
year, that in the Marshalsea, Newgate, the Gate-House, Bridewell, the Fleet, the Compters, the White Lion, and the King's-Bench, there were eighty-nine prisoners for relig. ion; some popish recusants, and the rest protestant nonconformists; of whom twenty-four had been committed by the ecclesiastical commission, and the rest by the council and the bishops, courts. But his lordship's proceedings were quickly interrupted, by bis falling under her majes. ty's displeasure a few months after his translation, for marrying a second wife, which the Queen looked upon as indecent in an elderly clergyman; for this she barished him the court, and commanded the archbishop to suspend him from his bishopric; but after six months, her majesty boing a little pacified, ordered his suspension to be taken off, though she would never admit him into her presence, which had such an influence upon his great spirit, as was thought to hasten his death, which happened the next year, as he was sitting in his chair smoaking a pipe of tobacco. The
rigor and cruelty in ecclesiastical matters, he had and avowed jast sentiments concerning the constitution of the English government, and the power of parliaments : of whom he said, that “ if they used their prir. «ileges the King can do nothing without them: It be do, it is his . fault in usurping it, and their folly in permitting it. Wherefore, ia
my judgment, those that in King Henry's days would not grant him, • that proclamation should have the force of a statute, were good fath
ers of the country and worthy commendation in defending their liberty." Strype as quoted in British Biogr. vol. iii. p. 240, 241.
and Granger's Biog. Hist. vol. i. p. 208-9. ED.
year following he was succeeded by Dr. Bancroft, the great adversary of the paritans.
These violent proceedings of the bishops drove great numbers of the Brownists into Holland, where their leaders Mr. Johnson, Mr. Smith, Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Jacob, and others were gone before-hand, and with the leave of the states were erecting churches after their own model at Amsterdam, Arnheim, Middleburgh, Leyden, and other places. The church at Amsterdam had like to have been torn in pieces at first by intestine divisions, but afterwards flourished under a succession of pastors for above a hundred years.
Mr. Robinson, pastor of the church at Leyden, first struck out the congregational or independent form of church government, and at length part of this church, transplanting themselves into America, laid the foundation of the noble colony of New England, as will be seen hereafter.
Hitherto the controversy between the church and puritans had been chiefly about habits and ceremonies, and church-discipline, but now it began to open upon points of doctrine; for this year Dr. Bound published his treatise of the sabbath, wherein he maintains the morality of a seventh part of time for the worship of God; that christians are bound to rest on the Lord's day as much as the Jews on the Mosaical sabbath, the commandment of rest being moral and perpetual ; that therefore it was not lawful to follow our studies or worldly business on that day; nor to use such recreations and pleasures as were lawful on other days, as shooting, fencing and bowling, &c. This book bad a wonderful spread among the people, and wrought a mighty reformation ; so that the Lord's day which used to be prophaned by interludes, may-games, morrice-dances, and other sports and recreations, began to be kept more precisely, especially in corporations. All the puritans fell in with this doctrine, and distinguished themselves by spending that part of sacred time in public, family, and private acts of devotion.* But the governing clergy exclaimed against it, as a restraint of christian liberty, as putting an unequal lus: tre on the Sunday, and tending to eclipse the authority of
• Fuller, b. ix. p. 227.