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LAUD, entirely beloved counsellor, we greet you well.
There is Abp. Cant.
nothing more dear to us than the preservation of true religion, bishops touching as it is now settled and established in this our kingdom, to the ordinations. honour of God, the great comfort of ourself and our loyal
people ; and there can nothing more conduce to the advancement thereof than the strict observation of such canons of the Church as concern those who are to take orders in their several times, more especially of keeping that particular canon which enjoins that no man be made a priest without a title: for we find that many not so qualified do, by favour or other means, procure themselves to be ordained, and afterwards, for want of means, wander up and down, to the scandal of their calling, or, to get maintenance, fall upon such courses as are most unfit for them, both by humouring their auditors, and other ways altogether unsufferable. We have therefore thought fit, and we do hereby straitly command, require, and charge you to call such bishops to you as are now present in or near our city of London, and to acquaint them with this our resolution. And further, that you fail not, in the beginning of the next term, to give notice of this our will and pleasure openly in our High Commission Court; and that you call in to the said court every bishop respectively that shall presume to give orders to any man that hath not a title, and there to censure him as the canon aforesaid doth enjoin, (which is, to maintain the party so ordered till he give him a title,) and with what other
you in justice shall think fit. And our further will is, that nothing shall be reputed a title to enable a man for orders but that which is so by the ancient course of the Church and the canon law, so far forth as that law is received in this our Church of England. And, as you must not fail in these our
directions, nor in any part of them, so we expect that you give 758. us from time to time a strict account of your proceedings in the
“Given under our signet, at our palace of West
minster, September 19th, in the ninth year of our reign, 1633."
The archbishop, pursuant to his majesty's order, convened his suffragans in or near the town, acquainted them with the scandal and danger of uncautious ordinations, pressed their managing this affair by the strictness of the canon, and deli
at the assizes
vered them a copy of his majesty's letters. These letters were CHARLES likewise transmitted to the bishops in the country, and others of the same tenor sent by the king to the archbishop of York.
About this time, the king published his declaration concern- The judges ing lawful sports. The occasion of it was this : some of the at Ereter judges had lately made orders at the assizes for suppressing all and in
Somersetrevels, church-ales, clerk-ales, and bid-ales', on the Sunday, shire sup,
press wakes, The publishing this order was enjoined the parochial clergy on ge. the first Sunday in February every year. These regulations were thought to exceed the restraints of the statutes made in the first and third years of this reign, for the better keeping the Lord's-day; and in this business sir Thomas Richardson, chief justice of the King's Bench, was particularly active at the Lent assizes in Somersetshire. The enjoining the clergy to publish the judges' orders in their churches was looked upon as an imposition, and an encroachment, over and above, on the ecclesiastical courts. Laud, then bishop of London, complained of this usage to the king, who commanded the chief justice to discharge the order at the next assizes. Richardson was so far from obeying his majesty, that he confirmed his former proceedings, and made them more menacing than before. This hardy step was resented by the principal gentry of the country. The king, likewise much displeased with Richardson's resolution, commanded the bishop of London to write to the bishop of Bath and Wells for an account of matter of fact, and in what manner the wakes and other festivals were managed. Upon the receipt of this letter, Bath and Wells sent for above seventy clergymen of character, living in the country. These divines certified under their hands, “ that, on the festivals, (which commonly fell on the Sunday,) divine service was most solemnly performed, and the congregation fuller, both in the forenoon and in the afternoon, than upon any other Sunday; that the people desired they might be continued ; and that the clergy in most places were of the same sentiment. They believed these annual solemnities serviceable for preserving the memory of the dedication of churches, for making up differences by the meeting of friends, for cultivating a good correspondence among neighbours, and for refreshing the poor with the entertainments made upon those anniversaries." Whether these reasons for keeping up the wakes, &c., were stronger than the
Ale, a merry meeting used in country places.- Warton.
Collections. vol. 2.
tarian controversy revived.
LAUD, objections against them, is what I shall leave undetermined. Abp. Cant.
However, upon the return of this certificate, the lord chief justice Richardson was summoned again before the council, where, notwithstanding he had endeavoured to justify his proceedings by alleging his order was made at the request of the justices of peace, and with the general consent of the bench, notwithstanding this defence, he was positively commanded to reverse it. By the way, from the account which Heylin and
Rushworth give of this matter, it is plain the justices of peace Cyprian. in Somersetshire were divided
the point. Anglic.
About this time, the Sabbatarian controversy was revived. Rushworth's
One Theophilus Bradburn, a clergyman in Suffolk, refreshed
this dispute. About four years since, he published a book The Sabla entitled, " A Defence of the most Ancient and Sacred Ordi
nance of God, the Sabbath Day.” In this tract he maintains the fourth commandment was absolutely moral; that Christians, as well as Jews, were obliged to the perpetual observing that day; and, lastly, that the Lord's-day, or Sunday, is a working-day ; that it deserves no preference; and that it is no better than will-worship and superstition to raise it to the solemnity of a sabbath in virtue of the fourth commandment'. This Judaizing performance was dedicated to the king. His majesty, much displeased with this resolution, ordered the prosecution of the author in the High Commission. Before the cause came to a hearing, Bradburn was prevailed with by the bishops to submit to a conference, where, his scruples being happily disentangled, he was recovered to an orthodox belief. However, these Sabbatarian mistakes had spread in some measure upon the people. The justices of peace in Somersetshire signed an address to the king, for suppressing church-ales, clerk-ales, &c. But, before the petition was delivered, his majesty, by way of prevention, published the late king's declaration upon this subject, with a supplement of his own. His present majesty's addition is in these words :
The kiny's declaration concerning sports.
“Now, out of a like pious care for the service of God, and suppressing of any humours that oppose the truth, and for the ease and comfort and recreation of our well-deserving people, we do ratify and publish this our blessed father's declaration ;
There are some modern Sabbatarians, who have modified this opinion, and keep two Sabbaths; namely, Saturday the last day of the Jewish week, and Sunday the last day of the Christian week.
the rather because of late, in some counties of our kingdom, CHARLES we find that, under pretence of taking away abuses, there hath been a general forbidding, not only of ordinary meetings, but of the feasts of the dedication of churches, commonly called wakes. Now, our express will and pleasure is, that these feasts, with others, shall be observed, and that our justices of the peace, in their several divisions, shall look to it, both that all disorders there may be prevented or punished, and that all neighbourhood and freedom, with man-like and lawful exercises, be used. And we further command our justices of assize, in their several circuits, to see that no man do trouble or molest any of our loyal and dutiful people in or for their lawful recreations, having first done their duty to God, and continuing in obedience to us and our laws. And of this we command all our judges, justices of the peace (as well within liberties as without), mayors, bailiffs, constables, and other officers, to take notice and to see observed, as they tender our displeasure. And we further will, that publication of this our command be made, by order from the bishops, through all the parishchurches of their several dioceses respectively.
“Given at our palace at Westminster, October 18,
in the ninth year of our reign, 1633.”
This declaration, whether upon the score of indulging too much liberty or dispensing with a late act of parliament, was 1 Charles 1. not well received, and gave the people a further disgust at the cap. 1. administration; and some of the clergy, who scrupled the reading of it in their churches, were suspended by their ordi- 759. naries, and prosecuted in the High Commission. These rigours, though not very frequent, heightened the complaint, and dissevered the government, both in Church and State.
To go back a little, and report the condition of the Church of Ireland, at the lord deputy Wentworth's coming thither. For this purpose, I shall insert Dr. Bramhall's (afterwards lord primate) letter to Laud, bishop of London. It runs thus :-
Dr. Bramhall's letter
“ RIGHT REVEREND FATHER,
My most honoured lord, presuming partly upon your to Laul licence, but especially directed by my lord deputy's commands, the condition I am to give your fatherhood a brief account of the present of the Church state of the poor Church of Ireland, such as our short in- Paper-office. LAUD, telligence here, and your lordship’s weightier employments Abp. Cant.
there, will permit. First, for the fabrics, it is hard to say whether the churches be more ruinous and sordid, or the people irreverent: even in Dublin the metropolis of this kingdom, and seat of justice, (to begin the inquisition where the reformation will begin,) we find our parochial church converted to the lord deputy's stable, a second to a nobleman's dwellinghouse, the quire of a third to a tennis-court, and the vicar acts the keeper. In Christ's church, the principal church in Ireland, whither the lord deputy and council repair every Sunday, the vaults, from one end of the minster to the other, are made into tippling-rooms, for beer, wine, and tobacco, demised all to popish recusants, and by them and others so much frequented in time of divine service, that though there is no danger of blowing up the assembly above their heads, yet there is of poisoning them with the fumes. The table used for the administration of the blessed sacrament in the midst of the choir, made an ordinary seat for maids and apprentices. I cannot omit the glorious tomb in the other cathedral church of St. Patrick in the proper place of the altar, just opposite to his majesty's seat, having his father's name superscribed upon it, as if it were contrived on purpose to gain the worship and reverence, which the chapter and whole Church are bound by special statute to give towards the east. It would seem the soil itself, or a licence to build and bury, and make a vault in the place of the altar under seal, which is a tantamount, passed to the earl and his heirs, Credimus esse Deos ? This being the case in Dublin, your lordship will judge what we may expect in the country
“ Next for the clergy: I find few footsteps yet of foreign differences, so I hope it will be an easier task not to admit them than to have them ejected. But I doubt much whether the clergy be very orthodox, and could wish both the articles and canons of the Church of England were established here by act of parliament, or state ; that as we live all under one king, so we might both in doctrine and discipline observe an uniformity. The inferior sort of ministers are below all degrees of contempt, in respect of their poverty and ignorance: the boundless heaping together of benefices by commendams and dispensations in the superiors is but too apparent; yea, even often by plain usurpation, and indirect compositions, made between the patrons (as well ecclesiastic as lay) and the in