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tans were not lessened; the other bishops, who were in the high commission, doubled their diligence; the Rev. Mr. Nash was in the Marshalsea, Mr. Drewet in Newgate, and several others were shut up in the prisons in and about London. Those that were at liberty had nothing to do, for they might not preach in public without full conformity ; nor assemble in private to mourn over their own and the nation's sins, without the danger of a prison.
This exasperated their spirits, and put them upon writing satyrical pamphlets* against their adversaries; in some of which there are severe expressions against the unpreaching clergy, calling them (in the language of scripture) dumb dogs, because they took no pains for the instruction of their parishioners; the authors glanced at the severity of the laws, at the pride and ambition of the bishops, at the illegal proceedings of the high commission, and at the unjustifiable rigors of the Queen's government; wbich her majesty being informed of, procured a statute this very parliament,t(1580] by which it is enacted, that “ If any person or persons, 10 • days after the end of this session, shall devise, or write,
or print, or set forth any manner of book, rhyme, ballad, • letter, or writing, containing any false, seditious, or slanderous matter, to the defamation of the Queen's majesty, 6 or to the encouraging, stirring, or moving of any insur
rection or rebellion within tbis realm, or any of the domin. jons to the same belonging: or if any person or persons • shall procure such books, rhymes, or ballads, to be written, printed, or published, (the said offence not being within
the compass of treason, by virtue of any former statute) that then the said offenders, upon sufficient proof by two
witnesses, shall suffer death and loss of goods, as in case of . felony." This statute was to continue in force only during the life of the present Queen; but within that compass of time, sundry of the paritans were put to death by virtue of it.
In the same session of parliament, another severe law was made, which like a two-edged sword cut down both papists
* Bishop Warburton censures Mr.Neal for not speaking in much severer terms of these pamphlets. But he should have adverted to our author's grave censure of them,in chap. viii. and have recollected that the writers on the church side came not behind their adversaries in buffoonery and ridicule.” These were the weapons of the age.
† 23 Eliz. cap. 2.
and puritans; it was entitled, An act to retain the Queen's subjects in their due obedience :* “ By which it is made
treason, for any priestor jesuit to seduce any of the Queen's 6 subjects, from the established to the Romish religion. If . any
shall reconcile themselves to that religion, they shall be guilty of treason: And to harbor such above twenty days, is misprision of treason. If any one shall say mass, 6 he shall forfeit 200 marks and suffer a year's imprisonment; and they that are present at hearing mass shall for. * feit 100 marks, and a year's imprisonment." But that the act might be more extensive, and comprehend protestant non-conformists as well as papists, it is further enacted, • That all persons that do not come to church or chapel,or oth
er place where common prayer is said, according to the act 6 of uniformity, shall forfeit twenty pounds per month to
the Queen, being thereof lawfully convicted, and suffer 'imprisonment till paid. Those that are absent for twelve 6 months shall, upon certificate made thereof into the King's• Bench, besides their former fine, be bound with two suffi'cient sureties in a bond of two hundred pounds, for their good behavior. Every school master that does not come to common-prayer, shall forfeit ten pounds a month, be • disabled from teaching school, and suffer a year's impris6 onment." This was making merchandize of the souls of men (says a reverend author;)t for it is a sad case to sell men à licence to do that which the receivers of their money conceive to be unlawful. Besides, the fine was unmerciful; by the act of uniformity, it was twelve penče a Sunday for not coming to church, but now twenty pounds a month ; so that the meaner people had nothing to expect but to rot in jails, which made the officers unwilling to apprehend them. Thus the Queen and her parliament tacked the puritans to the papists, and subjected them to the same penal laws, as if they had been equal enemies to her person and government, and to the protestant religion. A precedent followed by several parliaments in the succeeding reigns.
The convocation did nothing but present an humble petition to the Queen, to take off the archbishop's sequestration, which her majesty was not pleased to grant.
23 Eliz. cap. 1. + Fuller, b. ix. p. 131.
This summer Aylmer bishop of London, held a visitation of his clergy, at the convocation house of St. Paul's, and obliged them to subscribe the following articles; 1. Exactly to keep to the book of common prayer and sacraments. 2. To wear the surplice in all their ministrations. 3. Not add or diminish any thing in reading divine service.--He then made the following enquiries, i. Whether all that had cure of souls administered the sacraments in person? 2. Whether they observed the ceremonies to be used in baptism and marriage? 3. Whether the youth were catechised ? 4. Whether their ministers read the homilies? 5. Whether any of them called others that did not preach by ill names, as dumb dogs ? Those who did not subscribe, and answer the interrogatories to his lordship’s satisfaction, were immediately suspended and silenced.
But these violent measures, instead of reconciling the puritans to the church, drove them further from it. Men who act upon principles* will not be easily beaten from them with the artillery of canons, injunctions, subscriptions, fines, imprisonments, &c. much less will they esteem a church that fights with such weapons. Multitudes were by these methods carried off to a total separation, and so far prejudiced, as not to allow the church of England to be a true church, nor her ministers true ministers; they renounced all communion with her, not only in the prayers and ceremonies, but in hearing the word and the sacraments. These were the people called BrowniSTS, $ from one Robert Brown, a preacher in the diocese of Norwich, descended of an ancient and honorable family in Rutlandshire, and nearly related to the lord treasurer Cecil ; he was educated in Corpus Christi
* To do so is highly virtuous and praise-worthy. It is the support of integrity, and constitutes excellence of character: Yet, in this instance, bishop Warburton could allow himself to degrade and make a jest of it.
“ It is just the same (says he) with men who act upon pas..sion and prejudice, for the poet says truly,
“ Obstinacy's near so stiff
ED. § With them commenced the third period of puritanism. The increasing severity of the bishops inflamed, instead of subduing, the spirits of the non-conformists, and drove them to a greater distance from the establishment. Ep.
college, Cambridge, and preached sometimes in Benet church, where the vehemence of his delivery gained him reputation with the people. He was first a school-master, then a lecturer at Islington ; but being a fiery, hot-headed young man, he went about the countries, inveighing against the discipline and ceremonies of the church, and exhorting the people by no means to comply with them. He was first taken notice of by the bishop of Norwich, who committed him to the custody of the sheriff of the county in the year 1580, but upon acknowledgment of his offence he was released. In the year 1582, he published a book, called the life and manners of true christians; to which is prefixed, a treatise of reformation without tarrying for any; and of the wickedness of those preachers who will not reform themselves and their charge, because they will tarry till the magistrate command and compel them. For this he was sent for again into custody, and upon examination confessed himself the author, but denied that he was acquainted with the publication of the book; whereupon he was dismissed a second time at the intercession of the lord treasurer, and sent home to his father, with whom he continued four years; after which he travelled up and down the countries in company with his assistant Richard Harrison, preaching against bishops, ceremonies, ecclesiastical courts, ordaining of ministers, &c. for which, as he afterwards boasted, he had been committed to thirty-two prisons, in some of which he could not see his hand at noon-day. At length he gathered a separate congregation of his own principles, but the Queen and her bishops watching them narrowly, they were quickly forced to leave the kingdom. Several of his friends embarked with their effects for Holland ; and having obtained leave of the magistrates to worship God in their way, settled at Middleburgh in Zealand. Here Mr. Brown formed a church according to his own model ; but when this handful of people were delivered from the bishops their oppressors, they crumbled into parties among themselves, insomnch that Brown, being weary of his office, returned into England in the year 1589, and having renounced his principles of separation, became rector of Achurch in North
* B. X. p. 268. VOL. I.
amptonshire : Here he lived an idle and dissolute life, (according to Fuller*) far from that sabbatarian strictness that his followers aspired after. He had a wife, with whom he did not live for many years, and a church in which he never preached; at length, being poor and proud, and very passionate, he struck the constable of his parish for demanding a rate of him; and being beloved by no body, the officer summoned him before sir Roland St. John, a neighboring justice of peace, who committed bim to Northampton gaol; the decrepid old man, not being able to walk, was carried tbither upon a feather-bed in a cart, where he fell sick and died, in the year 1630, and in the 81st year of his age.
The revolt of Mr. Brown broke up his congregation at Middleburgh, but was far from destroying the seeds of separation that he had sown in several parts of England ; his followers increased, and made a considerable figure towards the latter end of this reign ; and because some of his principles were adopted and improved by a considerable body of puritans in the next age, I shall here give an account of them.
The Brownists did not differ from the church of Eng. land in any articles of faith ; but were very rigid and narrow in points of discipline. They denied the church of England to be a true church, and her ministers to be rightly ordained. They maintained the discipline of the church of England to be popish and antichristian, and all her ordinances and sacraments invalid. Hence they forbad their people to join with them in prayer, in hearing, or in any part of public worship; nay, they not only renounced communion with the church of England, but with all other reformed churches, except such as should be of their own model.
They apprehended, according to scripture, that every church ought to be confined within the limits of a single congregation; and that the government should be DEMOCRATICAL. When a church was to be gathered, such as de sired to be members made a confession of their faith in the presence of each other, and signed a COVENANT, obliging themselves to walk together in the order of the gospel, aecording to certain rules and agreements therein contained.
The whole power of admitting and excluding members, with the deciding of all controversies, was in the brother
* B. X. p. 268.