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and Wilcox, "imprisoned in Newgate for offering this seditious book to the Parliament ” (Annals, ii. (1), 275).
The Second Admonition (1572) was Cartwright's work. But it was not written in reply to Whitgift's treatise-An Answere to a certaine libell intituled An Admonition to the Parliament (1571). For the author expressly states that he has not seen the answer to the first Admonition : “ They say there is an answer towards : for my part I long to see it, and yet, to say truthe, I should be lothe, considering they cannot but betray their weaknesse to the papistes, or else confirme them in their follyes, but principally offend the Church of God” (4). But he has seen a short treatise against it (5). He made an elaborate reply to Whitgift in the following year (1573). The difference in purpose and method between the two Admonitions is thus stated : “ The first admonition, as being short, shows what to reform ; the second, how to reform" (5).
REFORMATION WITHOUT TARRYING FOR ANY"
ROBERT BROWNE-HIS FAMILY AND EARLY LIFE-PREACHES AT
CAMBRIDGE-His CONCEPTION OF THE CHURCH-CONGREGATIONAL
ARTWRIGHT and the moderate Puritans clung to the
hope that the Queen and the bishops would sooner or later cease to enforce the obnoxious vestments and ceremonies, and would consent to the reformation of the English Church by the gradual introduction of Presbyterianism. In 1581 their policy of patience was rudely and violently assaulted by Robert Browne, who is commonly described as the founder of English Congregationalism.
He belonged to an ancient Rutlandshire family, and was born towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII., or early in the reign of Edward VI. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. While there he became an ardent Puritan,
On leaving Cambridge he became a schoolmaster and got into trouble with a clergyman whom he describes as “ the preacher of the town,” 1 and with some of the people, through his zeal for those principles of religious reformation for which, he says, he had already suffered some things at the University.
“Whatsoever things he found belonging to the church, and to his calling as a member of the church, he did put it in practice. For even little children are of the church and kingdom of God; yea, of such, saith Christ, doth his kingdom consist : and therefore both in his school he laboured that the kingdom of God might appear, and also in those of the town with whom he kept company.”?
As a result of the hostility which he provoked, he was dismissed from his office, but he continued to teach in the same town till the plague came and his friends in Rutlandshire were alarmed and sent for him to come home.
After living for a short time with his father he returned to Cambridge, or rather to Dry Drayton, in its immediate neighbourhood, to study theology under the direction of Richard Greenham, a well-known Puritan clergyman. Here he began to preach; and he preached so powerfully that he was invited by the Mayor, the Vice-Chancellor, and some other persons, to accept an appointment as preacher in one of the Cambridge churches. But by this time he had grasped very firmly the central principle of the Congregational polity, and he states it in a very startling form.
If he is to accept any church office he must receive it from Christ Himself; for Christ is the Head of the Church. And who has authority to speak for Christ? The bishop of the diocese, “ by whom so many mischiefs are wrought”? 4 That seems an impossible hypothesis. Christ, he argued, is the Head of the Church, and next under Him is the assembly of the saints. “ The voice of the whole people, guided by the elders
· The particulars of Robert Browne's life are taken from a pamphlet written by himself. The only copy known to be in existence is in the Archbishop's Library at Lambeth. It was discovered by Dr. Dexter, of Boston, U.S. The copy seems to be an imperfect one. Browne does not say in what town it was that he became a schoolmaster. The pamphlet bears the title : A True and Short Declaration, both of the gathering and joyning together of certaine persons : and also of the lamentable breach and division which fell among them.
? A True and Short Declaration, 1-2. 3 Brook, i. 415-418.
* A True and Short Declaration, 2.
and the forwardest," is ... the voice of God.” And, fore, the meetings together of many churches, also of every whole church, and of the elders therein, is above the Apostle, above the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor, the Teacher, and every particular elder.” " And this also meant Paul where he saith ... 'We are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' So that the Apostle is inferior to the church, and the church is inferior to Christ, and Christ, concerning his manhood and office in the church, is inferior to God."7 He saw that the organisation of the Church by parishes was wholly inconsistent with the true conception of a Christian Church. “He judged that the Kingdom of God was not to be begun by whole parishes, but rather of the worthiest, were they never so few." 8 Only those who are really in Christ should be in the Church ; and an assembly, however small, of those who are really in Christ is the organ of His will. They dwell in Christ, and Christ dwells in them. When they are gathered together in Christ's name, He is one of the company. Their acts are His acts. Their prayers are His.
About this time Robert Harrison, a friend of Browne's and a member of the same college, but now
“ Master of the hospital at Norwich,” came to Cambridge.' He was thinking about entering the ministry, but he was a strong Puritan, and was not quite clear whether he ought to accept a licence to preach from a bishop.10 After long discussions he received Browne's theory of the true nature of a Christian Church ; and as Harrison knew that there were a considerable number of devout persons at Norwich who were discontented with the existing condition of ecclesiastical affairs, the two friends resolved to attempt to form a Congregational Church in that city. Browne describes the manner in which the Church was formed.
“ This doctrine before being showed to the company, and openly preached among them, many did agree thereto. ..
There was a day appointed and an order taken for redress of the former abuses,
5 That is, those who have made the greatest progress in the Christian Church (A True and Short Declaration, 3).
6 i Cor. iii. 23. “We” for “ all.”
10 Ibid., 8.
and for cleaving to the Lord in greater obedience. So a covenant was made and their mutual consent was given to hold together. There were certain chief points proved unto them by the Scriptures, all which being particularly rehearsed unto them with exhortation, they agreed upon them, and pronounced their agreement to each thing particularly, saying,' to this we give our consent.'” 11
They agreed to join themselves to the Lord, in one covenant and fellowship together, and to keep and seek agreement under his laws and government.” 13 This included a complete separation from the worship of the English Church.
They elected pastor”-Robert Browne-and a “ teacher ”–Robert Harrison ; and “prayed for their watchfulness and diligence, and promised their obedience.” 13 Whether at their first meeting they elected “ elders ” does not appear.
They arranged the order of their services. Not only officers of the Church, but other persons who had “the gift," were to instruct and edify the Church. If anything was said that appeared “doubtful and hard ” to any of the members of the Church, they could ask for explanations.
It was agreed “ that any might protest, appeal, complain, exhort, dispute, reprove, etc., as he had occasion, but yet in due order, which was then also declared.” 14 In other words, there were to be meetings of the Church for free conference.
The members covenanted to “ further the kingdom of God in themselves, and especially in their charge and household, if they had any, or in their friends and companions and whosoever was worthy."
Arrangements were made for calling meetings of the church members both for worship and for discipline. Regulations were adopted for the reception of new members into communion, and for the exclusion of the unfaithful ; for ascertaining the judgment of the Church in disputed matters; for the election, as they might be required, of those church officers who were not immediately appointed; for corresponding with other Churches, “ to have their help, being better reformed, or to bring them to reformation.'