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Character of the puritans.-Duke of Norfolk's confpira-
F all the European churches, which shook off the
fo much reafon and moderation as the church of England; 1568. an advantage, which had been derived partly from the Character interpofition of the civil magistrate in this innovation, of the pu- partly from the gradual and flow fteps, by which the reformation was conducted in that kingdom. Rage and animofity against the catholic religion was as little indulged as could be supposed in such a revolution: The fabric of the fecular hierarchy was maintained entire : The antient liturgy was preferved, fo far as was thought confiftent with the new principles: Many ceremonies, become venerable from age and preceding ufe, were retained: The fplendor of the Romish worship, though removed, had at least given place to order and decency: The diftinctive habits of the clergy, according to their different ranks, were continued: No innovation was admitted merely from spite and opposition to former usage: And the new religion, by mitigating the genius of the antient fuperftition, and rendering it more compatible with the peace and interests of fociety, had preferved itself in that happy medium, which wife men have always fought, and which the people have fo feldom been able to maintain.
BUT though fuch in general was the spirit of the reformation in that country, many of the English reformers, being men of more warm complexions and more obftinate tempers, endeavoured to push matters to extremity against the church of Rome, and indulged themselves in
in the most violent contrariety and antipathy to all for- CHA P. mer practices. Among thefe, Hooper, who afterwards fuffered for his religion with fuch extraordinary constancy, was chiefly diftinguished. This man was appointed, during the reign of Edward, to the fee of Glocefter, and made no fcruple of accepting the epifcopal office; but he refused to be confecrated in the epifcopal habit, the cymarre and rochette, which had formerly, he said, been abused to fuperftition, and which were thereby rendered unbecoming a true chriftian. Cranmer and Ridley were furprized at this objection, which opposed the received practice, and even the established laws; and though young Edward, defirous of promoting a man fo celebrated for his eloquence, his zeal, and his morals, enjoined them to dispense with this ceremony, they were ftill determined to retain it. Hooper then embraced the refolution, rather to refuse the bishopric than cloath himself in those hated garments; but it was deemed requifite, that, for the fake of the example, he should not escape so easily. He was first confined to Cranmer's houfe, then thrown into prison, till he should confent to be a bishop on the terms proposed: He was plyed with conferences, and reprimands, and arguments: Bucer and Peter Martyr, and the most celebrated foreign reformers, were confulted on this important question: And a compromife, with great difficulty, was at last made, that Hooper should not be obliged to wear commonly the obnoxious robes, but fhould agree to be confecrated in them, and to use them during cathedral fervice R: A condefcenfion not a little extraordinary in a man of so inflexible a spirit as this reformer.
THE fame objection, which had arifen with regard to the epifcopal habits, had been moved against the rayment of the inferior clergy; and the furplice in particular, with the tippet and corner cap, was a great object of abhorrence to many of the popular zealotss. In vain was it urged, that particular habits, as well as poftures and ceremonies, being conftantly used by the clergy, and employed in religious fervice, acquired a veneration in the eyes of the people, appear facred in their apprehenfions,
R Burnet, vol. ii. p. 152. Heylin, p. 90. vol. i. p. 416.
CHAP. henfions, excite their devotion, and contra&t a kind of XLI. myfterious virtue, which attaches the affections of men to the national and established worship: That in order 1568. to produce this effect an uniformity in these particulars is requifite, and even a perseverance, as far as poffible, in the former practice: And that the nation would be happy, if, by retaining these inoffensive observances, they could engage the people to renounce willingly what was hurtful or pernicious in the antient fuperftition. These arguments, which had influence with wife men, were the very reasons, which engaged the violent proteftants to reject the habits. They pushed matters to a total opposition with the church of Rome: Every compliance, they said, was a symbolizing with Antichrift T. And this spirit was carried so far by fome reformers, that, in a national remonftrance, made afterwards by the church of Scotland against these habits, it was afked, "What "has Chrift Jefus to do with Belial? What has dark"nefs to do with light? If furplices, corner caps, and
tippets have been badges of idolaters in the very a& "of their idolatry, why should the preacher of Chris"tian liberty, and the open rebuker of all superstition, "partake with the dregs of the Romish beaft? Yea, "who is there that ought not rather to be afraid of tak66 ing in his hand or on his forehead the print and mark "of that odious beast ?" But this application was rejected by the English church.
THERE was only one inftance, where the spirit of contradiction to the Romanifts took place universally in England: The altar was removed from the wall, was placed in the middle of the church, and was thenceforth denominated the communion-table. The reason why this innovation met with fuch general reception, was, that the nobility and gentry got thereby a pretence for making spoil of the plate, veftures, and rich ornaments, which belonged to the altars X.
THESE difputes, which had been started during the reign of Edward, were carried abroad by the protestants, who fled from the perfecutions of Mary; and as the zeal of these men had received an encrease from the furious
T Stripe, vol. i. p. 416. U Keith, p. 565. Knox, x Heylin, pretace, p. 3. Hift. p. 106.
cruelty of their enemies, they were generally inclined to CHA P. carry their oppofition to the utmost extremity against the practices of the church of Rome: Their communication with Calvin and the other reformers, who followed the difcipline and worship of Geneva, confirmed them farther in this obftinate reluctance; and though fome of the refugees, particularly those established at Frankfort, still adhered to king Edward's liturgy, the prevailing spirit carried these confeffors to feek a ftill farther reformation. On the acceffion of Elizabeth, they returned to their native country; and being regarded with general veneration, on account of their zeal and past sufferings, they ventured to infift on the establishment of their projected model; nor did they want countenance from many confiderable perfons in the queen's council. But the princess herself, fo far from being willing to defpoil religion of the few ornaments and ceremonies, which remained in it, was rather inclined to bring the public worship still nearer to the Romish ritual; and the thought, that the reformation had already gone too far in shaking off those forms and obfervances, which, without distracting men of more refined apprehenfions, tend, in a very innocent manner, to allure, and amufe, and engage the vulgar. She took care to have a law for uniformity ftri&tly enacted; fhe was empowered by the parliament to add any new ceremonies, which the thought proper: and though she was sparing in the exercise of this prerogative, fhe continued rigid in exacting an obfervance of the established laws, and
Y When Nowel, one of her chaplains, had spoken less reverently in a fermon, preached before her, of the fign of the cross, he called aloud to him from her closet window, commanding him to retire from that ungodly digreffion, and to return unto his text. And on the other fide, when one of her divines bad preached a Sermon in defence of the real prefence, she openly gave him thanks for his pains and piety. Heylin, p. 124. She would have abfolutely forbid the marriage of the clergy, if Cecil had not interpofed. Strype's Life of Parker, p. 107, 108, 109. She was an enemy to fermons ; and the usually faid, that she thought two or three preachers were fufficient for a whole country. It was probably for these reasons that one Doring told her to her face from the pulpit, that he was like an untamed heifer, that would not be ruled by God's people, but obftructed his difcipline. See Life of Hooker, prefixed to his works.
CHA P. in punishing all nonconformity. The zealots, therefore, LXI. who harboured a secret antipathy to the episcopal order and to the whole liturgy, were obliged, in a great mea1568. fure, to conceal these sentiments, which would have been regarded as highly audacious and criminal; and they confined their avowed objections to the furplice, the confirmation of children, the fign of the cross in baptism, the ring in marriage, kneeling at the facrament, and bowing at the name of Jefus. So fruitless is it for fovereigns to watch with a rigid care over orthodoxy, and to employ the fword in religious controversy, that the work, perpetually renewed, is perpetually to begin; and a garb, a gesture, nay, a metaphyfical or grammatical distinction, when rendered important by the difputes of theologians and the zeal of the magiftrate, is fufficient to deftroy the unity of the church, and even the peace of fociety. These controverfies had already excited fuch ferment among the people, that in fome places they refused to frequent the churches, where the habits and ceremonies were used; would not falute the conforming clergy; and proceeded fo far as to revile them in the street, to spit in their faces, and to use them with all manner of contumely Z. And while the fovereign authority checked these exceffes, the flame was confined, not extinguished; and burning fiercer from confinement, it burst out in the fucceeding reigns, to the deftruction of the church and monarchy.
ALL enthufiafts, indulging themselves in rapturous flights, extafies, vifions, infpirations, have a natural averfion to epifcopal authority, to ceremonies, rites, and forms, which they denominate fuperftition, or beggarly elements, and which feem to reftrain the liberal effufions of their zeal and devotion: But there was another fet of opinions adopted by thefe innovators, which rendered them in a peculiar manner the object of Elizabeth's averfion. The fame bold and daring fpirit, which accompanied them in their addreffes to the divinity, appeared in their political fpeculations; and the principles of civil liberty, which, during some reigns, had been little avowed in the nation, and which were totally incompatible with the present exorbitant prerogative, had been ftrongly adopted by this new fect. Scarcely any fove
Z Strype's Life of Whitgift, p. 460.