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of divinity, by order from the bishop of London. The chancellor in his letter to the university was very angry, because they sifted Baro with interrogatories, “ as if, says he, "he was a thief; this seems done of stomach among you." How sad then was the case of the puritans !
The divines of Oxford, and indeed all the first reformers, were in the same sentiments with those of Cambridge about the disputed points ; Calvin's institutions being read publicly in the schools by appointment of the convocation, though perhaps they might not go the full length of the Lambeth articles, nor express themselves with the exactness of those who lived afterwards, when those doctrines were publicly opposed by Arminius and his followers.
Te article of our Savior's local descent into hell began to be questioned at this time. It had been the received doctrine of the church of England, that the soul of Christ, being separated from his body, descended locally into hell, that he might there triumph over satan, as before he had over death and sin.* But the learned Mr. Hugh Broughton, the rabbi of his age, whom King James would have courted into Scotland, convinced the world that the word hades, used by the Greek fathers for the place into which Christ went after his crucifixion, did not mean hell, or the place of the damned, but only the state of the dead, or the invisible world. It was further debated, whether Christ underwent in his soul the wrath of God, and the pains of hell, and finished all his sufferings upon the cross before he died.t This was Calvin's sentiment, and with him agreed all the puritan divines, who preached it in their sermons,
, and inserted it in their catecbisms. On the other hand, bishop Bilson in his sermons at Paul's Cross maintained, that no text of scripture asserted the death of Christ's soul, or the pains of the damned to be requisite in the person of Christ before he could be our ransomer, and the Savior of the world. But still he maintained the local descent of Christ into hell, or the territory of the damned ; and that by the course of the creed the article must refer not toChrist
• Life of Whitgift, p. 473. † Life of Whitgift, p. 482.
Heyl. Hist. Presb. p. 340.
living upon the cross, but to Christ dead ; and that he went thither not to suffer, but to wrest the keys of hell and death out of the hands of the devil. * When these sermons were printed, they were presently answered by Mr. Henry Jacob, a learned Brownist. Bilson, by the Queen's command, defended his sermons, in a treatise entitled, A Survey of Christ's Sufferings, which did not appear in the world till 1604. The controversy was warmly debated in both uni. versities; but when the learned combatants had spent their artillery it dropt in silence, without any determination from authority, though it was one of the articles usually objected to by the puritans, for which they were suspended their ministry. [And the rational sentiment, that the word hades signifies only the state of the dead, or the invisible world, silently and universally took place.]
Among other reproaches cast upon their clergy, one was, that they deluded the people by claiming a power to exorcise the devil. « Some of their ministers, says Mr. Strype, pretended to cast out devils, that so the amazed multitude having a great veneration for these exorcizers of devils, by the power of their prayers and fastings, might the more * readily and awfully submit to their opinions and ways; a • practice borrowed from the then papists to make their priests revered, and to confirm the laity in their supersti<tions.” One would think here was a plot of some cunning, designing men, to conjure the people into the belief of discipline ; but all vanishes in the peculiar principles of a weak, and (as Mr. Strype confesses) honest man, whose name was Darrel, a B. A. and minister of Nottingham. This divine was of opinion, that by the power of prayer the devil might be cast out of persons possessed it and having tried the experiment upon one Darlin of Burton, a boy of about 14 years old with supposed success, and upon some others,
* This controversy gave a celebrity, beyond his own time, to the name of bishop Bilson ; he was an eminent divine and the author of some doetripal and practical works; as well as of some Latin poems and orations never published. In the reign of James the first, he was one of the two final correctors of the English translation of the Bible; for which office his easy and harmonious style particularly qualified him. History of Knowledge in the New Annual Register for 1789, p. 17. ED.
| Life of Whitgift, p. 492, 494, 493.
he was importuned by one of the ministers, and several inhabitants of the town of Nottingham, to visit one William Somers, a boy that had such convulsive agonies, as were thought to be preternatural, insomuch that when Mr.Dar. rel had seen them, he concluded with the rest of the spectators that he was possessed, and advised his friends to desire the help of godly and learned ministers to endeavor his recovery, but excused himself from being concerned, lest if the devil should be dispossessed, the common people should attribute to him some special gift of casting out devils ; but upon a second request from the mayor of Nottingham, he agreed with Mr. Aldridge and two other ministers, with about one hundred and fifty neighboring christians, to set apart a day for fasting and prayer, to intreat the Lord to cast out Satan, and deliver the young man from his torments; and after some time the Lord they say was intreated, and they blessed God for the same; this was November 1597. A few days after, the mayor and some of the aldermen began to suspect that Somers was a cheat, and to make him confess, they took him from his parents, and committed bim to the custody of two men, who with threatnings prevailed with him to acknowledge, that he had dissembled and counterfeited all he did. Upon this he was carried before the commission, where at first he owned himself a counterfeit, and then presently denied it again; but being thoroughly frighted, he fell into fits before the commissioners, which put an end to his examination for the present. After some time, being still in custody, he returned to his confessing, and charged Mr.Darrel with training him up in the art for four years. Upon this Mr. Darrel was summoned before the commissioners, and brought witnesses with him to prove, that Somers had declared in a very solemn manner that he had not dissembled; upon wbich he was dismissed, and the commission dissolved; but the affair making a great noise in the country, Mr. Darrel was sent for to Lambeth, and after a long hearing before the archbishop, and others of the high commission, he was deposed from his ministry, and committed close prisoner to the Gate-house, for being accessary to a vile imposture, where he continued many years.
While Mr. Darrel was in the prison, he wrote an apology, to shew that people in these latter days may
possessed with devils; and that by prayer and fasting the una clean spirit may be cast out. In the end of which he makes this protestation; “ If what I am accused of be true, (viz. 6 that I have been accessary to a vile imposture, with a de
sign to impose on mankind) let me be registered to my • perpetual infamy, not only for a notorious deceiver, but • such an hypocrite as never trod on the earth before ; yea, · Lord! for to thee I convert my speech, who knowest all 6 things, if I have confederated more or less with Somers, • Darling, or any of the rest ; if ever I set eye on them be• fore they were possessed, then let me not only be made a laughing-stock, and a by-word to all men, but rase my name also out of the book of life, and let me have my portion with hypocrites."
It has been observed, that the bishops had now wisely transferred the prosecution of the puritans from themselves to the temporal courts, so that, instead of being summoned before the high commission, they were indicted at the assizes, and tried at common law; this being thought more adviseable, to take off the odium from the church. Judge Anderson discovered his zeal against them this summer in an extraordinary manner, for in his charge to the jury at Lincoln he told them, that the country was infested with Brownists, with disciplinarians and erectors of presbyte. ries ; which he spoke with so much wrath, with so many oaths, and such reviling language, as offended the gentlemen upon the bench. He called the preachers knaves, saying, that they would start up into the pulpit and speak against every body.t. He was for extending the statute of recusancy to such who went at any time to hear sermons from their own parish churches, though they usually attended in their places, and heard divine service dutifully. When lord Clinton, and the deputy lieutenants, and justices of those parts, obtained the bishop's allowance for a day of fasting and prayer at Lowth, upon an extraordinary occasion, his lordship urged the jury to find a bill against them, upon the statute of conventicles.
† Strype's Ann. vol. ult. p. 264.
Mr. Allen minister of that parish, being indicted by means of a revengeful justice of peace, for not reading all the prayers at once, (he using sometimes to omit part of them for the sermon) was obliged to hold up his hand at the bar, when judge Anderson standing up, spoke to him with a fierce countenance; and having insinuated some grievous faults against the man (though he named none) called him oftentimes knave, rebellious knave, with more such opprobrious language, though it was known all over the country that Mr. Allen was a good preacher ; that he had subscribed; was esteemed by the bishop; was conformable in his affections; and behaved upon this occasion with all humility and submission. But his lordship had said in bis charge, that he would hunt all the puritans out of his circuit. One thing was remarkable in Mr. Allen's arraignment, that when upon some point wherein judgment in divinity was required, Mr. Allen referred himself to the bishop (his ordinary then sitting upon the bench) the judge took him up with marvellous indignation, and said, he was both his ordinary and bishop in that place.
Thus the puritan clergy were put upon a level with rogues and felons, and made to hold up their hands at the bar among the vilest criminals; there was hardly an assize in any county in England, but one or more ministers, through the resentments of some of their parishioners, appeared in this condition, to the disgrace of their order, and the loss of their reputation and usefulness; besides being exposed to the insults of the rude multitude. “But I would • to God (says my author) that they which judge in reliógious causes, though in the name of civil affairs, would • either get some more knowledge in religion and God's 6 word than my lord Anderson hath, or call in the assistance of those that have."*
Archbishop Whitgift was busy this summer about elections for the ensuing parliament, which was to meet Oct. 24, 1597. Mr. Strype says, his grace took what care he
* Strype's Ann. vol. ult. p. 267. These are not the words of Mr. Strype himself, as they may appear by the manner of quotation, but are part of a letter " from a person • unknown of the clergy to a person of quality" on judge Anderson's proceedings. Ed. Vou. I.