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born at Guildford, in Surrey; and bred in Baliol-college, Oxon, CHARLES where, having lived fellow for some time, he was preferred to
prevailed during the fourth and fifth centuries; when the Christian Church, as is well known, was already sunk into those superstitions which were afterwards continued and augmented by the policy of Rome. The revival, therefore, of the ideas and practices of that age, could not fail of giving the English faith and liturgy some resemblance to the Catholic superstition, which the kingdom in general, and the Puritans in particular, held in the greatest horror and detestation. Men also were apt to think, that, without some secret purpose, such insignificant observances would not be imposed with such unrelenting zeal on the refractory nation ; and that Laud's scheme was to lead back the English by gradual steps to the religion of their ancestors. They considered not, that the
very insignificancy of these ceremonies recommended them to the superstitious prelate, and made them appear the more peculiarly sacred and religious, as they could serve to no other purpose. Nor was the resemblance to the Romish ritual any objection, but rather a merit, with Laud and his brethren ; who bore a much greater kindness to the motherchurch, as they call her, than to the Sectaries and Presbyterians, and frequently recommended her as a true Christian Church ; an appellation which they refused, or at least scrupled to give to the others. So openly were these tenets espoused, that not only the discontented Puritans believed the Church of England to be relapsing fast into Romish snperstition : the court of Rome itself entertained hopes of regaining its authority in this island; and, in order to forward Laud's supposed good intentions, an offer was twice made him, in private, of a cardinal's hat, which he declined accepting. His answer was, as he says himself, “that something dwelt within him, which would not suffer his compliance, till Rome were other than it is.'
“ A court lady, daughter of the earl of Devonshire, having turned Catholic, was asked by Laud the reason of her conversion. "'Tis chiefly,' said she, “because I hate to travel in a crowd. The meaning of this expression being demanded, she replied, “I perceive your grace and many others are making haste to Rome; and therefore, in order to prevent my being crowded, I have gone before you.' It must be confessed, that though Laud deserved not the appellation of papist, the genius of his religion was, though in a less degree, the same with that of the Romish : the same profound respect was exacted to the sacerdotal character, the same submission required to the creeds and decrees of synods and councils, the same pomp and ceremony was affected in worship, and the same superstitious regard to days, postures, meats, and vestments. No wonder, therefore, that this prelate was, every where, among the Puritans, regarded with horror, as the forerunner of antichrist.
“ As a specimen of the new ceremonies to which Laud sacrificed his own quiet and that of the nation, it may not be amiss to relate those which he was accused of employing in the consecration of St. Catherine's church, and which were the object of such general scandal and offence.
" On the bishop's approach to the west door of the church, a loud voice cried, “Open, open, ye everlasting doors, that the King of glory may enter in ! Immediately the doors of the church flew open, and the bishop entered. Falling upon his knees, with
eyes elevated and arms expanded, he uttered these words : “This place is holy, the ground is holy : in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I pronounce it holy.'
Going towards the chancel, he several times took up from the floor some of the dust, and threw it in the air. When he approached, with his attendants, near to the communion-table, he bowed frequently towards it : and on their return, they went round the church, repeating, as they marched along, some of the psalms: and then said a form of prayer, which concluded with these words : “We consecrate this church, and separate it unto thee as holy ground, not to be profaned any more to common uses.'
After this, the bishop, standing near the communion-table, solemnly pronounced many imprecations upon such as should afterwards pollute that holy place by musters of soldiers, or keeping in it profane law-courts, or carrying burdens through it. On the
ABBOT, the mastership of University-college, and afterwards to the Abp. Cant.
deanery of Winchester. His next promotion was the bishop
conclusion of every curse, he bowed towards the east, and cried, “Let all the people say, Amen.'
“ The imprecations being all so piously finished, there were poured out a number of blessings upon such as had any hand in framing and building that sacred and beautiful edifice, and on such as had given, or should hereafter give to it, any chalices, plate, ornament, or utensils. At every benediction, he in like manner bowed towards the east, and cried, “Let all the people say, Amen.'
“ The sermon followed; after which, the bishop consecrated and administered the sacrament in the following manner :
“ As he approached the communion-table, he made many lowly reverences: and coming up to that part of the table where the bread and wine lay, he bowed seven times. After the reading of many prayers, he approached the sacramental elements, and gently lifted up the corner of the napkin in which the bread was placed. When he beheld the bread, he suddenly let fall the napkin, flew back a step or two, bowed three several times towards the bread; then he drew nigh again, opened the napkin, and bowed as before.
“Next, he laid his hand on the cup, which had a cover upon it, and was filled with wine. He let go the cup, fell back, and bowed thrice towards it. He approached again; and lifting up the cover, peeped into the cup. Seeing the wine, he let fall the cover, started back, and bowed as before. Then he received the sacrament, and gave it to others. And many prayers being said, the solemnity of the consecration ended. The walls and floor and roof of the fabric were then supposed to be sufficiently holy.
“ Orders were given, and rigorously insisted on, that the communion-table should be removed from the middle of the area, where it hitherto stood in all churches, except in cathedrals. It was placed at the east end, railed in, and denominated an Altar; as the clergyman who officiated received commonly the appellation of Priest. It is not easy to imagine the discontents excited by this innovation, and the suspicions which it gave rise to.
“ The kneeling at the altar, and the using of copes, a species of embroidered vestment, in administering the sacrament, were also known to be great objects of scandal, as being popish practices : but the opposition rather increased than abated the zeal of the prelate for the introduction of these habits and ceremonies.
“ All kinds of ornament, especially pictures, were necessary for supporting that mechanical devotion, which was purposed to be raised in this model of religion : but as these had been so much employed by the Church of Rome, and had given rise to so much superstition, or what the Puritans called idolatry; it was impossible to introduce them into English churches, without exciting general murmurs and complaints. But Laud, possessed of present authority, persisted in his purpose, and made several attempts towards acquiring these ornaments. Some of the pictures introduced by him were also found, upon inquiry, to be the very same that might be met with in the mass-book. The crucifix too, that eternal consolation of all pious Catholics, and terror to all sound Protestants, was not forgotten on this occasion.
“ It was much remarked, that Sherfield, the recorder of Salisbury, was tried in the Star-chamber, for having broken, contrary to the bishop of Salisbury's express injunctions, a painted window of St. Edmund's church in that city. He boasted, that he had destroyed these monuments of idolatry : but for this effort of his zeal, he was fined five hundred pounds, removed from his office, condemned to make a public acknowledgment, and be bound to his good behaviour.
“ Not only such of the clergy as neglected to observe every ceremony were suspended and deprived by the High Commission Court : oaths were, by many of the bishops, imposed on the church-wardens; and they were sworn to inform against any one who acted contrary to the ecclesiastical canons. Such a measure, though practised during
ric of Lichfield. From hence, after a few months, he was CHARLES translated to London; and from thence, within a year, to
the reign of Elizabeth, gave much offence; as resembling too nearly the practice of the Romish inquisition.
“ To show the great alienation from the Churches reformed after the Presbyterian model, Laud advised, that the discipline and worship of the Church should be imposed on the English regiments and trading companies abroad. All foreigners of the Dutch and Walloon congregations were commanded to attend the Established Church, and indulgence was granted to none after the children of the first denizens. Scudamore too, the king's ambassador at Paris, had orders to withdraw himself from the communion the Hugonots. Even men of sense were apt to blame this conduct, not only because it gave offence in England, but because in foreign countries it lost the crown the advantage of being considered as the head and support of the Reformation.
“ On pretence of pacifying disputes, orders were issued from the council, forbidding, on both sides, all preaching and printing with regard to the controverted points of predestination and free-will. But it was complained of, and probably with reason, that the impartiality was altogether confined to the orders, and that the execution of them was only meant against the Calvinists.
“ In return for Charles's indulgence towards the Church, Laud and his followers took care to magnify, on every occasion, the regal authority, and to treat with the utmost disdain or detestation, all puritanical pretensions to a free and independent constitution. But while these prelates were so liberal in raising the crown at the expense of public liberty, they made no scruple of encroaching themselves on the royal rights, the most incontestible; in order to exalt the hierarchy, and procure to their own order dominion and independence. All the doctrines which the Romish Church had borrowed from some of the fathers, and which freed the spiritual from subordination to the civil power, were now adopted by the Church of England, and interwoven with her political and religious tenets. A divine and apostolical charter was insisted on, preferably to a legal and parliamentary one. The sacerdotal character was magnified as sacred and indefeasible : all right to spiritual authority, or even to private judgment in spiritual subjects, was refused to profane laymen : ecclesiastical courts were held by the bishops in their own name,
notice taken of the king's authority : and Charles, though extremely jealous of every claim in popular assemblies, seemed rather to encourage than repress those encroachments of his clergy. Having felt many sensible inconveniences from the independent spirit of parliaments, he attached himself entirely to those who professed a devoted obedience to his crown and person ; nor did he foresee that the ecclesiastical power which he exalted, not admitting of any precise boundary, might in time become more dangerous to public peace, and no less fatal to royal prerogative, than the other.
“ So early as the coronation, Laud was the person, according to general opinion, that introduced a novelty, which, though overlooked by Charles, made a deep impression on many of the bystanders. After the usual ceremonies, these words were recited to the king : 'Stand and hold fast, from henceforth, the place to which you have been heir by the succession of your forefathers, being now delivered to you by the authority Almighty God, and by the hands of us and all the bishops and servants of God. And, as you see the clergy to come nearer the altar than others, so remember that, in all places convenient, you give them greater honour; that the Mediator of God and man may establish you on the kingly throne, to be a mediator betwixt the clergy and the laity; and that you may reign for ever with Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.'
“ The principles which exalted prerogative, were not entertained by the king merely as soft and agreeable to his royal ears : they were also put in practice during the time that he ruled without parliaments. Though frugal and regular in his expense, he wanted money for the support of government; and he levied it either by the revival of obsolete laws, or by violations, some more open, some more disguised, of the privileges of the
ABBOT, Canterbury. He had passed through prosperity and adversity Abp. Cant.
some very sensible instances. He has the character of a good preacher, of an unblemished conversation. As to the governing part, he was not altogether so happy : he was apparently somewhat leaning towards the Puritan persuasion. Under this disposition, he is reported over remiss in his discipline. By holding the reins thus loose, the people were practised upon by the Dissenters, and gained over to Calvinism. The ceremonies of the Church were neglected ; and thus, in many places, the worship of God being left too much at discretion, the pressing conformity afterwards was clamoured
against, and interpreted to rigour and innovation. L'Estrange,
archbishop Abbot is taxed with unfriendliness to those of his K, Charles.
own function ; that he browbeat the inferior clergy, and discovered a partiality to the rich laity, in causes brought before him. To defend himself against this imputation, his answer was, 6 that he was so severe to the clergy on purpose to rescue them from the severity of others, and to prevent the punishment of them by lay-judges, to their greater shame.”
But this excuse is a harsh reflection upon the conduct of the clergy, and supposes them remarkably defective, either in common honesty or common discretion. However, these singularities, together with his relaxation of discipline, are no disproofs of integrity: his meaning might be good, though his measures fell short of exactness. As for his benefactions, he built a fair hospital at Guildford, and settled a plentiful endowment.
After Abbot's death, the king was at no loss about a nomination. He had already resolved upon his successor ; and,
Fuller's Ch. Hist. book 11.
nation. Though humane and gentle in his temper, he gave way to a few severities in the Star-chamber and High Commission, which seemed necessary, in order to support the present mode of administration, and repress the rising spirit of liberty throughout the kingdom. Under these two heads may be reduced all the remarkable transactions of this reign, during some years : for, in peaceable and prosperous times, where a neutrality in foreign affairs is observed, scarcely any thing is remarkable, but what is, in some degree, blamed or blameable. And, lest the hope of relief or protection from parliament might encourage opposition, Charles issued a proclamation, in which he declared, “That whereas, for several ill ends, the calling again of a parliament is divulged; though his majesty has shown, by frequent meetings with his people, his love to the use of parliaments: yet the late abuse having, for the present, driven him unwillingly out of that course; he will account it presumption for any one to prescribe to him any time for the calling of that assembly. This was generally construed as a declaration, that, during this reign, no more parliaments were intended to be summoned. And every measure of the king's confirmed a suspicion, so disagreeable to the generality of the people.”
when Laud—who travelled slower than the court
-came off his CHARLES
I. Scotland journey, and waited on the king, his majesty saluted
Luud suchim with this expression,-“ My lord's grace of Canterbury, ceeds him you are very welcome.” In six weeks the customary forms in the see for the translation were gone through, and the archbishop bury. settled at Lambeth, where, at his coming, he made a splendid Sept. 19. entertainment.
The first directions he received from court referred to the business of ordinations. To secure the clergy from indigence and dependence, it was provided by the canons, that none Can. 33. should be ordained without a title. Now, a title for maintenance is thus settled by the Church. The person to be ordained must either exhibit his presentation to some benefice within the diocese of the bishop ordaining, or bring an unquestionable certificate of his being provided of a curacy in the said diocese, or that he is assured of officiating as deacon or priest in some cathedral or collegiate-church, or that he can make proof of his being a fellow or chaplain in some college in Cambridge or Oxford, or that he is five years standing master of arts and lives in one of the universities
his own charge, or, lastly, the bishop who ordains him must engage to prefer him shortly to some cure then void. Notwithstanding the precaution of this canon, ordinations were sometimes passed to slender qualifications, either of title or merit ; and thus these clergy, being unfurnished with a maintenance, turned lecturers or chaplains, and were frequently entertained upon terms of disadvantage. By being supported in a precarious manner, they lay more obnoxious to unhandsome compliance; and, when their patrons were factious or schismatical, they were in danger of deserting from their duty. By his majesty's instructions, in the year 1629, it was ordered, that no lay-gentleman, Ibid. not qualified by law, should entertain a chaplain. But it was not long before this order was disregarded in several families ; and therefore, to retrench the number of lecturers and household priests, it was thought fit to stop the source of this inconvenience, and refresh the observing the canon above-mentioned upon the bishops. To this purpose, the king, at the instance of the archbishop, sent him the following letter :
66 CHARLES REX.
The king's “ Most reverend father in God, right trusty and right letter to the