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six years since, when Preston was at the head of the Puritans, CHARLES a project was formed by that party to set up lectures with the
impropriaencouragement of a maintenance in market-towns. To this purpose certain feoffees were constituted in trust for purchasing such impropriations as were remaining in the hands of the laity: their business, as they said, was to set up a constant preaching ministry: and, to make the scheme practicable, they formed themselves into a kind of corporation; they formed themselves, I say, for they had neither any act of parliament, nor the king's letters-patent, for their warrant. The names of the feoffees were these : William Gouge, Richard Sibbs, C. Offspring, T. Davenport, doctors in divinity; Ralph Eyre, S. Brown, barristers of Lincoln's-inn ; C. Sherland, barrister of Gray's-inn; John Geering, Richard Davis, George Harwood, Francis Bridges, citizens. To these Rowland Heylin, alderman of London, was afterwards added, as treasurer, for the convenience of a casting voice.
This design being well solicited, and having a strong appear- Remarks ance of piety, answered expectation ; and thus great sums of settlement. money were raised in a short time. But notwithstanding these specious colours, there lay a snake in the grass : for after all, this extraordinary zeal and expence was only to strengthen the interest of the Dissenters, to bring in the Geneva discipline, and raise a battery against the Church. That this remark is no excess of censure, may appear by considering, First, That these feoffees were men of known disaffection to the established discipline.
Secondly, Their way of management is a plain indication of their intentions ; for the impropriations purchased by them were not annexed to the churches or chapels to which they originally belonged: had this been done, the business had been commendable, and clear from suspicion : but this they knew was the wrong way to serve the cause. Instead, therefore, of rescuing the parochial clergy from the hardships they suffered, they parcelled out the purchased impropriations into pensions of forty or fifty pounds per annum. With these salaries they subsisted lecturers in market-towns. In these places people have commonly most leisure, and by consequence are further disposed to receive impressions from the pulpit, and give into singularities. For when leisure has not a counter
ABBOT, balance of knowledge and judgment, it proves a temptation to Abp. Cant.
run after novelties, and is a dangerous circumstance.
Thirdly, The views these feoffees went upon, may be further discovered by the persons they made choice of. Now these were generally Nonconformists, and sometimes such as had
been silenced by their ordinary, or the High Commission, of Heylin. which there are several instances, too long to insert. Historicum, Fourthly, The same collection may be made from the pre
cariousness of the salaries; for these pensions were arbitrary favours, revocable at pleasure; and the lecturers had no interest in them during life, or for term of years. They were altogether on their good behaviour, and hung entirely upon the humour of their patrons. And thus if they happened to disappoint the feoffees in their principles, if they managed languidly in the cause, and abated of their first fervour, the pensions were withdrawn, and the men discharged.
From these observations, it is pretty plain that this scheme See Hist. of had no friendly aspect either upon Church or State: for those bles, &c. of who were schismatical, with respect to the first society, were Laud, p.373. commonly disaffected to the other. To what has been re
marked, may be added, that to tie the lecturers faster to the leading men in this new corporation, they allowed private pensions to those who had been silenced or suspended in the ecclesiastical courts; and afterwards furnished somewhat of a maintenance to their wives and children after their death. These were powerful motives to engage the dissenting preachers to their patrons' fancy, and make them “speak smooth things.” And thus, by drawing off their audience from the Church, and reinforcing the faction, the elections were commonly swayed the wrong way in corporations, and malcontents returned to parliament. For these reasons the feoffees were prosecuted
by attorney-general Noy. The feoffment was cancelled in the It is broken Court of Exchequer, the impropriations purchased confiscated by a sentence
to his majesty's use, and the penalties they had incurred rechequer.
ferred to farther consideration. Upon the feoffees receiving February, A.D. 1632-3. sentence in the Exchequer-chamber, archbishop Laud makes
this remark in his Diary: “These feoffees," says he, Archbishop
the main instruments for the Puritan faction to undo the
Church.” Diary, p. 47.
The next year the king went a progress into Scotland : the
in the Ex
design of his journey, besides the solemnity of a coronation, CHARLES was to reconcile that nation further to the English Church, and make way for the settlement of the Liturgy. To introduce this conformity in both kingdoms, some preparatory measures had been taken in the late reign. For, in the year 1617, king James gave order the English service should be read daily at the chapel royal in Holyrood-house. And, pur- Some means suant to the general assembly at Aberdeen, commissioners taken in the were appointed to draw up a book of Common Prayer for for setiling
the liturgy in Scotland. This book, when finished, was sent up to the king Scotland. by archbishop Spotswood, carefully perused by his majesty, and afterwards reviewed by some Scotch bishops at the English court. And having passed this test, and received the last 755. improvement, the king returned it to the Scotch bishops, who were to recommend it to the use of their own Church. But this prince being embroiled in a war with the house of Austria, and dying not long after, the business had no success. His son, king Charles, equally embarrassed at his accession to the throne, was for the first four years in no condition to revive the undertaking ; but after the peace with France, being soniewhat more at liberty, he reminded the Scotch bishops of their duty, and ordered them to solicit this affair with the utmost application. Upon this they dispatched Maxwell, a preacher at Edinburgh, to the English court. This gentleman applying to Laud, bishop of London, received the following answer, “ That if his majesty would have a Liturgy settled there different from what they had already, it was best to take the English Liturgy without any variation from it; so that the same service-book might pass through all his majesty's dominions.” To this Maxwell replied, “ That the Scotch would This design be better pleased to have a Liturgy of their own, but such a one as should come near the English, both in form and matter.” In short, the cause was brought before the king, who having considered the arguments of each party, declared for the English book. The main reason urged by the Scotch bishops was, “That a Liturgy made by themselves, and in a.d. 1633. some things different from the English service, would be most acceptable to their countrymen, whom they found very jealous of the least dependence on the Church of England.” And thus the matter rested till this present year.
Anglic. By the way, the Scots of the Kirk party, who, either out of
p. 8. 12.
ABBOT, opinion or interest, were unfriendly to the hierarchy, had Abp. Cant.
lately some opportunities to work their purpose. It had been
the manner of the Presbyterian ministers, for some time past, point private to keep a fast on the first Sunday of every quarter; and here fasts.
to lie under shelter, and guard against the laws, they took the precaution not to give any public notice of these humiliations ; their method was only to give some private intimation to those of their flock they could confide in. Upon the fasting days they used to declaim against episcopacy, and give broad innuendoes of the danger the Reformation lay under from this establishment. And to drive this doctrine deeper into the audience, part of their prayer was for relief against this grievance, and for a blessing upon all good means which Providence should suggest for that end. These were popular topics, and improved their interest with the burghers and peasantry. But that which was more serviceable to the cause, was the coming over of seven or eight of the nobility, who openly declared for
Another. advantage was the want of good understanding
amongst the bishops; the new bishops not paying a due reA commend- gard to those who had lived longer in that order. It was king touching the James's method, when a bishopric fell void, to order the archnomination bishop of St. Andrew's to consult the rest of the prelates for of bishops changed in naming three or four for the vacancy. And when the bishops this reign. had pitched upon the persons, they laid the list before the
king, who made choice of one of them. And thus the elections passing under so serviceable a direction, the men best recommended for life and merit, were generally preferred.
But king Charles had the misfortune, as bishop Guthrie reports, to change this commendable custom.
In this reign churchmen were preferred to the sees in Scotland by the in
terest they had at court: now favourites and statesmen are bishops
not always the best directors in these affairs. Besides, the
young bishops, as Guthrie calls them, not being obliged to the vantage, and old ones for their promotion, abated of the customary observwhy.
ance, and kept a kind of separate correspondence among themselves. And happening to fall into a close acquaintance with Laud, they put him upon prescribing measures to the old bishops, which were not well taken.
To proceed: the growing discontent among the ministers was another advantage to the Presbyterians.
14. The new
manage to disad
bishops, it seems, treated the inferior clergy with too much CHARLES loftiness and disregard. The old bishops were inoffensive, and managed this point with discretion. But those of this reign, as this author relates, laid too much stress upon their character, and steered with more sail than ballast. But that which had the most weight in precipitating the Scotch bishops, was the insincerity of the ministers of state. And here the earl of Traquair, lord-treasurer, did them most disservice. It seems he was under some apprehension the prelates intended to work him out of the king's favour, and that they were in a concert to bring Maxwell, bishop of Ross, into his post.
The juncture presenting thus fair for the Presbyterians, they resolved to petition the king for a redress of grievances : one main branch of the remonstrance was a complaint against episcopacy. This instrument, subscribed by the party, was put into the hands of the earl of Rothes, who was privately to present it to the king. According to customary method and form of law, the paper ought to have been given to the clerkregister; but they thought it most advisable to sound the king's inclination in the first place, and not run the risk of a public disappointment. By the event it appears their caution was not ill-grounded; for his majesty, upon reading the petition, commanded the earl of Rothes not to solicit any further. The party receiving this check thought it proper to acquiesce ; and thus the remonstrance was dropped for this year.
About ten days after a solemn coronation, the parliament June 28, sat. At this session there were several acts passed relating to the Church, which I shall briefly mention. To begin with Charles 1. the act which declares his majesty's sovereign authority over cap. 3. all estates, persons, and causes whatsoever, pursuant to a re
relating to sembling recognition made in parliament in the year 1606. the Church In the latter part of this statute it is enacted, “ that the power the parliaof prescribing an habit to churchmen shall remain in his ma- ment at
Edinburgh. jesty and successors." This provision was a continuing the branch of an act made in the year 1609, which determined with the life of the late king. The passing this statute was regretted by the Presbyterians, who were afraid the English surplice might be forced upon them.
The next act “ratifies and approves all and whatsoever acts and statutes made before, anent the liberty and freedom of the