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wise oppressed by that relentless prelate. In vain did the House of Commons, and several influential noblemen, repeatedly interpose in their behalf; they were detested by the queen, and Parker was ready to gratify her majesty without scruple, and to any extent. In particular, he strove to suppress the prophesyings," declaring that they were nests of Puritanism ; and by his complaints he succeeded in directing against them the vengeance of the despotic sovereign. He did not, however, live to direct the storm which he had raised, but died in May, 1576, and was succeeded by Grindal.
Grindal, aware of the opposition to the exercises or prophesyings which had been raised by his predecessor, attempted to regulate them so that no offence might be taken, or at least, that they might be the more easily defended. But the queen had formed her resolution, from which she could not moved by the most respectful and elaborate arguments, and the most urgent and humble entreaties of the afflicted archbishop. She “ declared herself offended at the numbers of preachers, and also at the exercises, and warned him to redress both, urging that it was good for the Church to have few preachers, and that three or four might suffice for a county ; and that the reading of the homilies to the people was enough. In short, she required him to do these two things-to abridge the number of preachers, and to put down the religious exer
This peremptory command both grieved and alarmed Grindal, who knew the excessive ignorance which prevailed both among the preachers and the people, and was anxious to promote whatever tended to the increase of religious knowledge and purity. He wrote to her majesty a long and earnest letter, entering fully into the subject, pleading the importance of preaching as the divinely appointed method of communicating religious instruction to the people,-showing how admirably these exercises were fitted to improve the ministers who joined in them, and consequently to qualify them for the discharge of their chief function; and after imploring her not to suppress so valuable an institution, and stating his readiness to resign his office if that were her pleasure, declared that he could not, without offence to the majesty of God, send out in
* Strype's Life of Grindal, p. 221.
junctions for suppressing the exercises. To this solemn appeal the queen's answer was—an order for the imprisonment of Grindal in his house, and his suspension from his functions for six months; and an immediate suppression of the prophesyings by the authority of a royal proclamation. Such were the fruits of the Crown's ecclesiastical supremacy, when possessed by a despotic monarch. It
may be added, that Grindal had the firmness to maintain his integrity for eight years, during which his suspension continued, and his archiepiscopal functions were generally performed by a commission; but at length he yielded so far as to suppress the exercises within his own jurisdiction, though he would not issue injunctions to that effect to the bishops. Unhappily it was not necessary; they were in general but too ready to obey the arbitrary commands of their haughty and despotic sovereign.
[1580.] A few years afterwards another development of regal and prelatic tyranny appeared, in an act passed by the Parliament of 1580, prohibiting the publication of books or pamphlets assailing the opinions of the Prelates, and defending those of the Puritans. In the same session of Parliament another act was passed, one portion of which empowered the infliction of heavy fines and imprisonment upon those who absented themselves from “church, chapel, or other place where common prayer is said, according to the Act of Uniformity." The apparatus of persecution was now nearly complete ; and the pernicious character of the Crown's ecclesiastical supremacy was sufficiently evident in at least its main aspect, although it subsequently reached a far more terrible degree of persecuting intolerance. These harsh and oppressive measures had, however, as might have been expected, an effect the very reverse of that which their authors intended. Some of timid and wavering minds might be terrified and subdued; but the bolder and more highprincipled men became only the more determined in proportion to the severity and intolerance of the treatment which they had to encounter. In their indignation they began to entertain feelings and opinions from which they would have shrunk, had they not been driven to extremities. Ceasing to complain of Popish vestments and ceremonies, and to supplicate a further reformation, some began to ques. tion whether the Church of England ought to be regarded
as a true Church, and her ministers true Christian ministers. They not only renounced communion with her in her forms of prayer and her ceremonies, but also in the dispensation of word and ordinance.
The leader of these men of extreme views was Robert Brown, a person who held a charge in the diocese of Norwich, whose family connexions gave him considerable influence, and procured him protection, he being nearly related to Lord Treasurer Cecil. Brown appears to have been a man of hot and impetuous temper, rash and variable except when opposed, and then headstrong and overbearing. Throwing himself headlong into the Puritan controversy, he traversed the country from place to place, pouring out the most fierce and bitter invectives against the whole Prelatic party, and also against all who could not concur with him in the rude violence of his mode of warfare.
After repeated imprisonments, and many attempts to form a new party, he at last partially succeeded in collecting a small body of like-minded adherents; but was soon afterwards compelled to leave the kingdom, and to withdraw to Holland with a portion of his followers. There he formed a Church according to his own fancy; but it was soon torn to pieces with internal dissension, and Brown returned again to England, and exhibiting one of those recoils by no means rare with men of vehement temperament, he renounced his principles of separation, conformed to that worship which he had so violently assailed, and became rector of a parish in Northamptonshire. The remainder of his life was by no means distinguished by correctness of deportment, or purity of manners; and at length he terminated his unhonored days in the county jail, in the eighty-first year of his age.* From this person the first form of what has since been termed the Independent, or Congregational system of Church government, appears to have had its origin, the great majority of the Puritans either retaining their connection with the Church of England in a species of constrained half-conformity, or associating on the Presbyterian model. Brown not only renounced communion with the Church of England, but also with all others of the reformed Churches who would not adopt the model which he had constructed. The main principles of that model were, that every church ought to be confined within a single congregation; that its government should be the most complete democracy; and that there was no distinction in point of order between the office-bearers and the ordinary members, so that a vote of the congregation was enough to constitute any man an office-bearer, and to entitle him to preach and administer the sacraments. Those who adopted these opinions, and formed Congregational Churches on the same model, were at first termed Brownists, and were regarded by the main body of the Puritans with nearly as much dislike as they were by the Prelatists.
* Neal, vol. i. pp. 245-247; Fuller, vol. iii. pp. 61-65.
In stating that the Independent or Congregational system of Church government may be said to have originated with Robert Brown, it is not meant that those who at present adhere to that form of ecclesiastical policy are Brownists, as that term was applied at first; but merely that Brown appears to have been the first who actually, in the formation of a Church, embodied that idea, and that too in a much more rigid and repulsive form than it subsequently assumed, when again taken up and reconstructed by wiser and better men. But it is of importance to mark beginnings, especially when these teach lessons of great practical value. One of these may be here very easily learned. The extreme pertinacity with which the queen and her obsequious servants the bishops strove to enforce entire conformity, produced an antagonist principle, whose very essence was direct antipathy to their eager wish, rendering it for ever impossible that their purpose could be accomplished. Another remark may be made; the system devised by Brown was, in its first appearance, altogether as intolerant, both in principle and in practice, as that of its opponent, Prelacy; but in the stern strife which afterwards ensued between these equally intolerant antagonists, they so far neutralized each other, as to give occasion to the gradual, though even yet incomplete, development of the great principle of religious toleration-a principle utterly unknown to any party at the time, even while its rainbow-form was beginning to bend its gentle radiance across the thunder-gloom of their contention.
[1583.] The death of Archbishop Grindal gave the queen an opportunity of promoting to that influential station which he had held a person more according to her own mind, who would feel no compunction in proceeding to extremities against the Puritans. Her choice was easily made. Whitgift had already distinguished himself by his controversial writings against Cartwright, and was well prepared to enforce by power what he had failed to accomplish by argument. Scarcely was Whitgift placed in his seat of power, when he began to show how that power would be used. He drew up and published three articles, requiring that none be permitted to preach, or execute any part of the ecclesiastical function, unless he should subscribe them. These articles were to the following effect : - 1st, The queen's supremacy over all persons, and in all causes, civil and ecclesiastical. 2d, That the Book of Common Prayer and of Ordination contained nothing contrary to the Word of God; and that they will use it, and no other.
3d, Implicit subscription of the Thirty-nine Articles.* The Puritans would readily have acknowledged the queen's supremacy over all persons, and in all causes civil, but not in causes ecclesiastical ; the second article they could not subscribe; the third they were ready to subscribe with little difficulty. But they were all rigidly enforced; and in a short time several hundreds of the best ministers in England were suspended for not subscribing. Not thinking even this sufficient, Whitgift applied to the queen to institute a new High Commission, that he might be enabled to wield a direct and irresistible power. She readily consented, and even gave to it an additional element of despotism, empowering the commissioners to impose an oath ex officio,-- by means of which persons accused were bound, on their oath, to answer questions against themselves, and thus become their own accusers, or to be punished, by fine or imprisonment, for refusing to take such an oath, or to criminate themselves. The prelatic inquisition was now complete in its apparatus, and Whitgift was well qualified to act as the grand inquisitor.
[1584.] The work of oppression went on now rapidly. Mercy to preachers or people there was none. Elizabeth's wisest statesmen stood aghast, when they beheld the desolating effect of Whitgift's measures; but they interposed in
* Neal, vol. i. pp. 260-263 ; Fuller, vol. iii. p. 68.