Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 3, 1639-40. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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A Speech delivered in the Star-Chamber, on Wednesday the 16th of June, 1637. at the Censure of John Bastwick, Henry Burton, and William Prinn: Concerning pretended Innovations in the Church.
Nor how patiently some great men. very great men indeed, have born animo civili (that's Suetoniw's Word) baceratam existimationem, the tearing and rending of their Credit and Reputation, with a gentle, nay a generous mind.
But of all Libels they are most odious which pretend Religion: as if that of all things did desire to be defended by a Mouth that is like an open Sepulchre, or by a Pen that is made of a sick and a loathsom Quill.
There were times when Persecutions were great in the Church, even to exceed Barbarity it self: did any Martyr or Confessor in those times libel the Governours? Surely no; not one of them to my best remembrance: yet these complain of Persecution without all shew of cause; and in the mean time libel and rail without all measure. So little of kin are they to those which suffer for Christ, or the least part of Christian Religion.
My Lords, it is not every man's Spirit to hold up against the Venom which Libellers spit. For St. Ambrose, who was a stout and a worthy Prelate, tells us, not that himsself, but that a far greater man than he, that's King David, had found out (so it seems in his judgment 'twas no matter of ordinary ability) Grande Inventum, a great and mighty Invention, how to swallow and put off those bitter Contumelies of the Tongue: and those of the Pen are no whit less, and spread farther. And it was a great one indeed, and well beseemed the greatness of David. But I think it will be far better for me to look upward and practise it, than to look downward and discourse upon it.
In the mean time I shall remember what an Antient under the name of St. Hierom tells me, Indignum est & præposterum, 'tis unworthy in it self, and preposterous in demeanor for a man to be ashamed for doing good, because other men glory in speaking ill.
And I can say it clearly and truly, as in the presence of God, I have done nothing as a Prelate, to the uttermost of what I am conscious, but with a single heart and with a sincere intention for the good Government and Honour of the Church, and the maintenance of the orthodox Truth and Religion of Christ professed, established and maintained in this Church of England.
For my care of this Church, the reducing of it into Order, the upholding of the external Worship of God in it, and the settling of it to the Rules of its first Reformation, are the causes, and the sole causes (whatever are pretended) of all this malicious Storm, which hath lower'd so black upon me and some of my Brethren. And in the mean time they which are the only, or the chief Innovators of the Christian world, having nothing to say, accuse us of Innovation; they themselves and their Complices in the mean time being the greatest Innovators that the Christian world hath almost ever known. I deny not but others have spread more dangerous Errors in the Church of Christ; but no men in any age of it have been more guilty of Innovation than they, while themselves cry out against it: Quis tulerit Gracchos?
And I said well, Quis tulerit Gracchos? For 'tis most apparent to any man that will not wink, that the Intention of these men and their Abettors was, and is to raise a Sedition, being as great Incendiaries in the State where they get power, as they have ever been in the Church; Novatian himself hardly greater.
And a great Trouble 'tis to them that we maintain that our calling of Bishops is Jure divino, by divine Right: Of this I have said enough, and in this place, in Leighton's Case; nor will I repeat. Only this I will say, and abide by it, that the calling of Bishops is Jure divino, by divine Right, tho not all Adjuncts to their Calling. And this I say in as direct Opposition to the Church of Rome, as to the Puritan Humour.
But that is a mere ignorant shift; for our being Bishops Jure divino, by divine Right, takes nothing from the King's Right or Power over us. For tho our Office be from God and Christ immediately, yet may we not exercise that Power, either of Order or Jurisdiction, but as God hath appointed us, that is, not in his Majesty's, or any Christian King's Kingdoms, but by and under the Power of the King given us so to do.
And were this a good Argument against us as Bishops, it must needs be good against Priests and Ministers too; for themselves grant that their Calling is Jure divino, by divine Right; and yet I hope they will not say that to be Priests and Ministers is against the King, or any his Royal Prerogatives.
Next suppose our Callings, as Bishops, could not be made good Jure divino, by divine Right; yet Jure ecclesiastico, by ecclesiastical Right, it cannot be denied. And here in England the Bishops are confirmed, both in their power and means, by Act of Parliament. So that here we stand in as good case, as the present Laws of the Realm can make us. And so we must stand, till the Laws shall be repealed by the same Power that made them.
Now then, suppose we had no other String to hold by, (I say sup pose this, but I grant it not) yet no man can libel against our calling, (as these men do) be it in Pulpit, Print, or otherwise, but he libels against the King and the State, by whose Laws we are established. Therefore all these Libel, so far forth as they are against our calling, are against the King and the Law, and can have no other purpose than to stir up Sedition among the People.
If these men had any other Intention, or if they had any Christian or charitable desire to reform any thing amiss; why did they not modestly petition his Majesty about it, that in his princely Wisdom he might set all things right in a just and orderly manner? But this was neither their Intention nor Way: for one clamours out of his Pulpit, and all of them from the Press, and in a most virulent and unchristian manner set themselves to make a heat among the People; and so by Mutiny to effect that, which by Law they cannot; and by most false and unjust Calumnies to defame both our Callings and Persons. But for my part, as I pity their Rage, so I heartily pray God to forgive their Malice.
You may see it in the Example of St. Paul himself, whose very zeal in the darkness of his understanding which he then had, made him persecure Christ and his church, Acts 22. 3, 4. And he was very dangerous Company then; for he breath'd out threatnings against the Disciples, Acts 9. 1. So true is that of St. Greg. Naz. Orat. 21. Zelus iraundiam acuit, All zeal puts an edge to anger it self. And that must needs be dangerous in the dark. Page 5.
No Nation hath ever appear'd more jealous of Religion than the People of England have ever been; and their Zeal to God's Glory hath been, and at this day is a great Honour to them: but this Zeal of theirs hath not been at all times and in all persons alike guided by knowledg. Now Zeal, as it is of excellent use, where it sees its way, so it is very dangerous Company, where it goes on in the dark: And these men, knowing the Disposition of the People, have labour'd nothing more than to misinform their Knowledg, and misguide their Zeal, and so to fire that into a Sedition, in hope that they, whom they causelesly hate, might miscarry in it.
For the main scope of these Libels is to kindle a Jealousy in men's minds, that there are some great Plots in hand, dangerous Plots (so says Mr. Burton expresly) to change the orthodox Religion established in England, and to bring in, I know not what, Romish Superstition in the room of it. As if the external decent Worship of God could not be upheld in this Kingdom without bringing in of Popery.
The King most desperately: for there is not a more cunning Trick in the world to withdraw the People's hearts from their Sovereign, than to persuade them that he is changing true Religion, and about to bring in gross Superstition upon them.
For his Majesty first. This I know, and upon this occasion take it my Duty to speak: There is no Prince in Christendom more sincere in his Religion, nor more constant to it, than the King. And he gave such a Testimony of this at his being in Spain, as I much doubt whether the best of that Faction durst have done half so much as his Majesty did in the face of that Kingdom. And this you, my Lord, the Earl of Holland, and other Persons of Honour, were Eye and Ear-Witnesses of, having the happiness to attend him there. And at this day, as his Majesty (by God's great Blessing both on him and us) knows more, so he is more settled and more confirmed, both in the
And for the Prelates; I assure my self, they cannot be so base, as to live Prelates in the Church of England, and labour to bring in the Superstitions of the Church of Rome, upon themselves and it. And if any should be so soul, I do not only leave him to God's Judgment, but (if these Libellers, or any other, can discover that his base and irreligious Falshood) to Shame also, and severe Punishment from the State: and in any just way, no Man's Hand shall be more or sooner against him than mine shall be.
Thirdly, if the King had a mind to change Religion, (which I know he hath not, and God forbid he should ever have) he must seek for other Instruments. For as basely as these men conceive of me, yet I thank God I know my Duty well both to God and the King: And I know that all the Duty I owe to the King, is under God. And my great happiness it is (tho not mine alone, but your Lordships and all his Subjects with me) that we live under a gracious and religious King, that will ever give us leave to serve God first, and Him next. But were the days other wise, I thank Christ for it, I yet knew not how to serve any Man against the Truth of God, and I hope I shall never learn it.
But to return to the business: what is their Art to make the World believe a change of Religion is endeavoured? What! why, forsooth, they say, there are great Innovations brought in by the Prelates, and such as tend to the advancing of Popery.
Now that the vanity and falshood of this may appear, I shall humbly desire your Lordships to give me leave to recite briefly all the Innovations charged upon us, be they of less or greater moment, and as briefly to answer them. And then you shall clearly see, whether any cause hath been given of these unsavoury Libels; and withal, whether there be any shew of cause to fear a change of Religions. And I will take these great pretended Innovations in order, as I meet with them.
Where the first Innovation is, That the last Year's Fast was enjoyned to be without Sermons in London, the Suburbs, and other infected Places, contrary to the Orders for other Fasts in former times: whereas Sermons are the only means to humble Men, &c.
To this I say, First, That an After age may, without Offence, learn to avoid any visible Inconvenience observed in the former. And there was visible Inconvenience observed in Mens former flocking to Sermons in infected Places.
Secondly, This was no particular Act of the Prelates; but the business was debated at the Council-Table, being a matter of State, as well as of Religion. And it was concluded for no Sermons in those infected Places, upon this Reason; That infected Persons or Families, known in their own Parishes, might not take occasion upon those by-days to run to other Churches where they were not known, as many use to do, to hear some humorous men preach: for on the Sundays, when they better kept their own Churches, the danger is not so great altogether.
Nor thirdly is that true, that Sermons are the only means to humble men. For tho the preaching of God's Word, where it is performed according to his Ordinance, be a great means of many good effects in the souls of men; yet no Sermons are the only means to humble men. And some of their Sermons are fitter a great deal for other Operations; namely to stir up Sedition, as you may see by Mr. Burton's; for this his printed Libel was a Sermon first, and a Libel too. And 'tis the best part of a Fast to abstain from such Sermons.
2. The second Innovation is, That Wednesday was appointed for the Fast day, and that this was done with this Intention, by the example of this Fast without preaching to supperss all the Wednesday Lectures in London.
To this I answer First, that the appointing of Wednesday for the Fast-day was no Innovation; for it was the day in the last Fast before this: and I my self remember it so, above forty Years since, more than once.
Secondly, if there had been any Innovation in it, the Prelates named not the day; my Lord Keeper, I must appeal to your Lordship, the day was first named by your Lordship, as the usual and fittest day. And yet I dare say, and swear too, that your Lordship had no aim to bring in Popery, nor to suppress all, or any of the Wednesday-Lectures in London. Besides, these men live to see the Fast ended, and no one Wednesday-Lecture suppressed.
To this I say, First in the general, this Fast Book, and all that have formerly been made, have been both made and published by the command of the King, in whose sole power it is to call a Fast. And the Archbishop and Bishops, to whom the ordering of the Book is committed, have power under the King, to put in, or leave out, whatsoever they think fit for the present occasion, as their Predecessors have ever done before them; provided that nothing be in contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Church of England.
And this may serve in the general for all Alterations in that or any other Fast Book, or Books of Devotion upon any particular occasions, which may and ought to vary with several times: and we may, and do, and will justify under his Majesty's Power all such Alterations made therein.
Secondly, for the particular, when this last Book was set out, the Weather was very seasonable. And it is not the custom of the Church, nor fit in it self, to pray for seasonable Weather when we have it, but when we want it. When the former Book was set out, the Weather was extreme ill, and the Harvest in danger; now the Harvest was in, and the Weather good.
Thirdly, 'tis most inconsequent to say, that the leaving that Prayer out of the Book of Devotions caused the Shipwracks and the Tempests, which followed. And as bold they are with God Almighty, in saying it was the cause: For sure I am God never told them, that was the cause. And if God never revealed it, they cannot come to know it; yet had the Bishops been Prophets, and foreseen these Accidents, they would certainly have prayed against them.
Fourthly, Had any Minister found it necessary to use this Prayer at any one time during the Fast, he might with ease, and without danger, have supplied that want, by using that Prayer to the same purpose which is in the ordinary Liturgy.
Fifthly, I humbly desire your Lordships to weigh well the Consequence of this great and dangerous Innovation. The Prayer for fair Weather was left out of the Book for the Fast; therefore the Prelates ittend to bring in Popery. An excellent Consequence, were there any shew of Reason in it.
And Secondly, Since that Collect made mention of Preaching, and the Act of State forbad Sermons on the Fast-days in infected places; we thought it fit, in pursuance of that Order, to leave out that Collect.
And Thirdly, for the branch in the other, which is the first Collect, tho God did deliver our Forefathers out of Romish Superstition, yet (God be blessed for it) we were never in. And therefore that Clause beng unfittingly expressed, we thought fit to pass it over.
Nay, on the contrary, the contempt and scorn of all fasting (save what humorous Men call for of themselves) is so rank, that it would grieve any Christian Man to see the necessary Orders of the Church concerning Fasting, both in Lent and at other set times, so vilified as they are.
For this First, The Author of the News knows full well that they are left out of the Collect in the latter Editions of the Common-Prayer-Book, as well as in the Book for the Fast. And this was done according to the course of the Church, which ordinarily names none in the Prayer but the right Line descending. Yet this was not done till the King himself commanded it, as I have to shew under his Majesty's Hand
Secondly, I beseech your Lordships to consider what must be the consequence here: The Queen of Bohemia and her Children are left out of the Collect, therefore the Prelates intend to bring in Popery; for that (you know) they say is the end of all these Innovations. Now, if this be the end and the consequence, truly the Libellers have done very dutifully to the King to poyson his People with this conceit, That the Lady Elizabeth and her Children would keep Popery out of this Kingdom, but the King and his Children will not. And many as good Offices as these have they done the King quite through these Libels, and quite through his Kingdoms. For my part, I honour the Queen of Bohemia, and her Line, as much as any man whatsoever, and shall be as ready to serve them, but I know not how to depart from my Allegiance, as I doubt these men have done.
7. The seventh Innovation is, That these words (Who art the Father of thine Elect, and of their Seed) are changed in the Preface of that Collect which is for the Prince and the King's Children: And, with a most spiteful Inference, That this was done by the Prelates to exclude the King's Children out of the number of God's Elect. And they call it an intolerable Impiety and horrid Treason.
Secondly, This is not therefore to lay any Aspersion upon my Predecessor, for he did in that but his Duty: For his Majesty acknowledges, it was done by his special Direction, as having then no Children to pray for.
The truth is, it was made at the coming in of King James, and must of necessity be changed over and over again pro ratione Temporum, as Times and Persons vary. And this is the intolerable Impiety and horrid Treason they charge upon us.
In this Method the Innovations are set down in the News from Ipswich. But then in Mr. Burton's News from Friday-street, (called his Apology) they are in another order, and more are added. Therefore, with your Lordship's leave, I will not repeat any of these, but go on to the rest which Mr. Burton adds.
8. The eighth Innovation is, That in the Epistle the Sunday before Easter, we have put out In, and made it, At the Name of Jesus every Knee shall bow. Which Alteration, he saith, is directly against the Act of Parliament.
Here give me leave to tell you it is At the Name of Jesus, in the late learned Translation made in King James his time; about which many learned Men of best note in the Kingdom were employ'd, besides some Prelates.
But to this I answer, First, It is true, the Common-Prayer-Book was confirmed by Act of Parliament, and so all things contained in it, at the passing of that Act. But I hope if any thing were false printed then, the Parliament did not intend to pass those slips for current.
Thirdly, This can make no Innovation; for In the Name, and At the Name of Jesus, can make no essential difference here. And Mr. Pryn (whose darling business it hath long been to cry down the Honour due to the Son of God, at the mentioning of his saving Name Jesus) knows the Grammar Rule well, In a place, or At a place, &c.
Fourthly, If there were any error in the change of In into At; I do here solemnly protest to you, I know not how it came: For authority from the Prelates, the Printers had none; and such a word is easily changed in such a negligent Press as we have in England: Or if any altered it purposely, for ought I know, they did it to gratifie the preciser sort; for therein they followed the Geneva Translation, printed at Geneva, 1557. where the words are, At the Name of Jesus. And that is ninety four Years ago; and therefore no Innovation made by us.
Fifthly, this I find in the Queen's Injunctions, without either word, In or At. Whensoever the Name of Jesus shall be in any Lesson, Sermon, or otherwise pronounced in the Church (it is enjoyned) that due Reverence be made of all Persons, young and old, with lowliness of Coursie, and uncovering of the heads of the Men-kind, as thereunto doth necessarily belong, and heretofore hath been accustomed. So here is necessity laid upon it, and custom for it, and both expressed by Authority in the very begining of the Reformation; and is therefore no Innovation now.
9. The Ninth Innovation is, That two places are changed in the Prayers set forth for the Fifth of November: And ordered to be read (they say) by Act of Parliament. The first place is changed thus, From, Root out that Babylonish and Antichristian Sect, which say of Jerusalem, &c. into this form of words, Root out that Babylonish and Antichristian Sect (of them) which say, &c. The second place went thus in the old: Cut off these workers of Iniquity, whose Religion is Rebellion. But in the Book Printed 1635. it is this altered: Cut off those workers of Iniquity, who turn Religion into Rebellion, &c.
To this I say, First, It is a notorious Untruth that this Book was ordered to be read by Act of Parliament. The Act of Parliament indeed is printed before it; and therein is a Command for Prayers and Thanksgivings every Fifth of November: But not one Word or Syllable for the Form of Prayer: That is left to the Church, therefore here is no Innovation against that Act of Parliament.
Secondly, The Alteration first mentioned, that is, That Sect, or That Sect of them, is of so small consequence, as it is not worth the speaking of. Besides, if there be any thing of moment in it, it is answered in the next.
Thirdly, Both for that and the second place, which seems of more moment; and so for the rest, not only in that Book, but that other also for his Majesty's Coronation; His Majesty expresly commanded me to make the Alterations, and see them printed. And here are both the Books with his Majesty's Warrant to each of them. So that herein I conceive I did not offend, unless it were that I gave not these Men notice of it, or asked them leave to obey the King.
Against this there can be but two Objections, should Malice it self go to work. The one is, that I moved his Majesty to command the Change. And the other, that now, when I saw my self challenged for it, I procured his Majesty's Hand for my Security.
And Secondly, that I had his Majesty's Hand to the Book, not now, but then, and before ever I caused them to be printed, as now they are. And that both these are true, I here again freely offer my self to my Oath.
And yet Fourthly, that you may see his gracious Majesty used not his power only in commanding this change, but his wisdom also; I shall adventure to give you my Reasons, such as they are, why this Alteration was most sit, is not necessary.
My first Reason is, In the Litany in Hen. VIII. his time (fn. 1), and also under Edward VI. (fn. 2) there was this Clause: From the Tyranny of the Bishop of Rome, and all his detestable Enormities, from all false Doctrine, &c. Good Lord deliver us. But in the Litany in Queen Elizabeth's time this Clause about the Pope was left out, and it seems of purpose, for avoiding of Scandal: And yet the Prelates for that not accounted. Innovators, or Introducers of Popery. Now it is a far greater Scandal to call their Religion Rebellion, than it is to call their chief Bishop Tyrant.
My second Reason is, that the Learned make but three Religions to have been of old in the World Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity. And now they have added a fourth, which is Turcism, and is an absurd mixture of the other three. Now is this ground of theirs be true (as it is generally received) perhaps it will be of dangerous consequence sadly to avow, that the Popish Religion is Rebellion. That some Opinions of theirs teach Rebellion, that is apparently true, the other would be thought on, to say no more. And this Reason well weighed, is taken from the very foundations of Religion it self.
My third Reason is, Because if you make their Religion to be Rebellion, then you make their Religion and Rebellion to be all one. And that is against the ground both of State, and the Law. For when divers Romish Priests and Jesuits have deservedly suffered Death for Treason, is it not the constant and just profession of the State, that they never put any Man to death for Religion, but for Rebellion and Treason only? Doth not the State truly affirm, that there was never any Law made against the life of a Papist, quatenus a Papist only? And is not all this stark false, if their very Religion be Rebellion? For if their Religion be Rebellion, it is not only false, but impossible, that the same Man in the same Act should suffer for his Rebellion, and not for his Religion.
And this King James of ever blessed Memory understood passing well, when (in his Premonition to all Christian Monarchs) he faith, I do constantly maintain that no Papist either in my time, or in the time of the late Queen, ever died for his Conscience. Therefore he did not think, their very Religion was Rebellion, though this Clause passed through Inadvertency in his time. And this Reason is grounded both upon the Practice, and the Justice of the Law.
Which of these Reason, or whether any other better, were in his Majesty's Thoughts, when he commanded the alteration of this Clause, I know not; but I took it my duty to lay it before you, that the King had not only Power, but Reason to command it.
To this I say, there is great Reason it should. For the King had no declared Enemy then, not (God be thanked) hath he now. Not had he then any Navy at Sea; for almost all the Ships were come in, before the Fast-book was set out.
But howsoever, an excellent Consequence it is, if you mark it; The Prayer for the Navy was lest out of the Book for the Fast, therefore by that, and such like Innovations the Prelates intend to bring in Popery. Indeed, if that were a piece of the Prelates Plots to bring in Popery from beyond Sea, then they were mightily overseen that they left-out the Prayer for the Navy. But else what Reason or Consequence is in it, I know not, unless perhaps Mr. Burton intended to be friend Dr. Bastwick, and in the Navy bring hither the Whore of Babylon to be ready for his Christening, as he most prophanely scoffs.
Well: I pray God the time come not upon this Kingdom, in which it will be found, that no one thing hath advanced orushered in Popery so fast, as the gross Absurdities even in the Worship of God, which these Men, and their like, maintain both in Opinion and Practice.
To this first I can truly say, that since my own Memory, this was in use in very many places, as being most proper (for those Prayers are then read which both precede and follow the Communion) and by little and little this Antient Custom was altered, and in those places first, where the Emissaries of this Faction came to preach. And now if any in Authority offer to reduce it, this antient course of the Church is by and by called an Innovation.
Secondly, with this the Rubricks of the Common-Prayer-Book agree: For the first Rubrick after the Communion tell us, that upon Holydays, tho there be no Communion, yet all else that is appointed at the Communion shall be read. Shall be read! That is true, but where? Why, the last Rubrick before the Communion tells us, that the Priest, standing at the Northside of the Holy Table, shall say the Lord's Prayer, with that which follows. So that not only the Communion, but the Prayers which accompany the Communion (which are commonly called the Second Service) are to be read at the Communion Table. Therefore if this be an Innovation, it is made by the Rubrick, not the Prelates: And Mr. Burtons Scoff, that this Second Service must be served in for dainties (fn. 3), favours too much of Belly and Prophanation.
12. One thing sticks much in their Stomachs, and they call it an Innovation (fn. 4) too. And that is, bowing, or doing Reverence at our first coming into the Church, or at our nearer Approaches to the Holy Table, or the Altar, (call it whether you will) in which they will needs have it, that we worship the Holy Table, or God knows what.
For Moses did reverence at the very Door of the Tabernacle, Num. 20. 6. Hezekiah, and all that were present with him, when they had made an end of offering, bowed and worshiped, (2 Chron. 29. 29.) David calls the People to it with a Venite, O come let us worship, and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker, (Psal. 95. 6.) And in all these places (I pray mark it) it is bodily Worship.
Nor can they say, that this was Judaical Worship, and now not to be imitated; for long before Judaism began, Bethel, the House of God, was a place of Reverence, Gen. 28. 17,&c. Therefore certainly, of, and to God.
And in the daily Prayers of the Church of England this was retained at the Reformation; and that Psalm, in which is Venite, Adoremus, is commanded to begin the Morning Service every Day. And for ought I know, the Priest may as well leave out the Venite, as the Adoremus; the calling the People to their Duty, as the Duty it self, when they are come.
Therefore even according to the Service-Book of the Church of England, the Priest and the People both are called upon, for external and bodily Reverence and Worship of God in his Church. Therefore they which do it, do not innovate. And yet the Government is so moderate (God grant it be not too loose therewhile) that no Man is constrained, no Man questioned, only religiously called upon, Venite, Adoremus, Come, let us worship.
For my own part I take any self bound to worship with Body, as well as in Soul, whenever I come where God is worshipped. And were this Kingdom such as would allow no Holy Table, standing in its proper Place (and such Places some there are) yet I would worship God when I came into his House. And were the times such, as should beat down Churches, and all the curious carved work there of with Axes, and Hammers, as in Psalm 74. 6. (and such times have been) yet would I worship in what place soever I came to pray, tho there were not so much as a Stone laid for Bethel. But this is the misery; it is Superstition now adays for any Man to come with more Reverence into a Church, than a Tinker and his Bitch come into an Ale-house; the Comparison is too homely, but my just Indignation at the Prophaneness of the times, makes me speak it.
And you, my Honourable Lords of the Garter, in your great Solemnities, you do your Reverence, and to Almighty God, I doubt not; but yet it is versus Altare, towards his Altar, as the greatest place of God's Residence upon Earth. (I say the greatest, yea, greater than the Pulpit. For there it is, Hoc est Corpus meum, This is my Body. But in the Pulpit, it is, at most, but, Hoc est Verbum meum, This is my Word. And a greater Reverence (no doubt) is due to the Body, than to the Word of our Lord. And so, in relation, answerably to the Throne, where his body is usually present, than to the Sear, whence his Word useth to be proclaimed. And God hold it there, at his Word; for, as too many Men use the matter, It is Hoc est verbum Diaboli, This is the word of the Devil, in too many Places, witness Sedition, and the like to it.) And this Reverence ye do when ye enter the Chappel, and when you approach nearer to offer. And this is no Innovation, for you are bound to it by your Order, and that is not new.
And Idolatry it is not to worship God towards his Holy Table; For if it had been Idolatry, I presume Queen Elizabeth and King James would not have practised it, no not in those Solemnities. And being not Idolatry, but true Divine Worship, you will, I hope, give a poor Priest leave to worship God, as your selves do: For is it be God's Worship, I ought to do it as well as you: And if it be Idolatry, you ought not to do it more than I.
I say again, I hope a poor Priest may worship God with as lowly Reverence as you do, since you are bound by your Order, and by your Oath, according to a Constitution of Henry V. (as appears (fn. 5) ) to give due Honour and Reverence, Domino Deo, & Altari ejus, in modum virorum Ecclesiasticorum; that is, To the Lord your God, and to his Altar, (for there is a Reverence due to that too, tho such as comes far short of Divine Worship;) and this in the manner as Ecclesiastical short of Divine Worship;) and this in the manner as Ecclesiastical Persons both worship and do reverence.
The Story which led in this Decree is this, King Henry V. that noble and victorious Prince, returning gloriously out of France, fat at this Solemnity; and finding the Knights of the Order scarce bow to God, or but slightly, and then bow towards him and his Sear, startled at it (being a Prince then grown as religious as he was before victorious) and after asking the Reason, (for till then the Knights of the Order never bowed toward the King or his Seat) the Duke of Bedford answered, it was settled by a Chapter Act three years before. Here upon that great King replied, No, I'll none of this, till you the Knights do it satis bene, well enough, and with due performance to Almighty God. And hereupon the forenamed Act proceeded, that they should do this Duty to Almighty God, not slightly, but Ad modum virorum Ecclesiasticorum, as low as well as decently, as Clergy-men use to do it.
Now if you will turn this off, and say, it was the Superstition of that Age so to do, Bishop Jewel will come in to help me there; for where Harding names divers Ceremonies, and particularly bowing themselves, and adoring at the Sacrament, I say, adoring at the Sacrament, not adoring the Sacrament; there Bishop Jewel (that learned, painful, and reverend Prelate) approves all both the kneeling and the bowing, and the standing up at the Gospel (which, as antient as it is in the Church, and a common Custom, is yet fondly made another of their Innovations, (fn. 6) ) And further the Bishop adds, That they are all commendable Gestures and Tokens of Devotion, so long as the People understand what they mean, and apply them unto God. Now with us the People did ever understand them fully, and apply them to God, and to none but God, till these sactious Spirits, and their like, to the great dis-service of God and his Church, went about to perswade them, that they are superstitious, is not idolatrous Gestures; as they make every thing else to be, where God is not served slovenly.
13. The thirteenth Innovation is, The placing of the holy Table Altarwise, at the upper end of the Chancel, that is, the setting of it North and South, and placing a Rail before it, to keep it from Prophanation, which Mr. Burton says, is done to advance and usher in Popery.
To this I answer, That it is no Popery to set a Rail to keep Prophanation from that Holy Table: Nor is it any Innovation to place it at the upper end of the Chancel as the Altar stood. And this appears both by the Practice, and by the Command and Canon of the Church of England.
First, By the Practice of the Church of England; for in the King's Royal Chappels, and divers Cathedrals, the Holy Table hath ever since the Reformation stood at the upper end of the Quire, with the large or full side towards the People.
And tho it stood in most Parish Churches the other way, yet whether there be not more reason, the Parish Churches should be made conformable to the Cathedral and Mother Churches, than the Cathedrals to them, I leave to any reasonable Man to judge.
And yet here is nothing done either by violence or command to take off the indifferency of the standing of the holy Table either way, but only by laying it fairly before Men, how fit it is there should be Order and Uniformity; I say still reserving the indifferency of the standing.
But howsoever, I would sain know how any discreet moderate Man dares say, that the placing of the Holy Table Altar-wise (since they will needs call it so) is done either to advance or usher in Popery? For did Queen Elizabeth banish Popery, and yet did she all along her Reign from first to last leave the Communion Table so standing in her own Chappel-Royal in St. Paul's and Westminster, and other places; and all this of purpose to advance or usher in that Popery which she had driven out?
And since her death, Have two gracious Kings kept out Popery all their times, and yet left the Holy Table standing as it did in the Queen's time, and all of purpose to advance or usher in Popery, which they kept out?
Or what is the matter? May the Holy Table stand this way in the King's Chappel, or Cathedrals, or Bishops Chappels, and not else where? Surely, if it be decent and fit for God's Service, it may stand so (if Authority please) in any Church: But if it advance or usher in any Superstition and Popery, it ought to stand so in none.
Nor hath any King's Chappel any Prerogative (if that may be called one) above any ordinary Church to dis-serve God in by any superstitious Rites. Where, give me leave to tell you, that the King and his Chappel are most jeeringly and with scorn abused in the last leaf of Mr. Burton's Mutinous Appeal, for such it is.
Secondly, this appears by the Canon or Rule of the Church of England too; for it is plain in the last Injunction of the Queen, That the Holy Table ought to stand at the upper end of the Quire, North and South, or Altar-wise. For the words of the Queen's Injunctions are these:
The Holy Table in every Church (mark it, I pray, not in the Royal Chapel, or Cathedrals only, but in every Church) Shall be decently made, and set in the place where the Altar stood. Now the Altar stood at the upper end of the Quire, North and South, as appears before by the practice of the Church. And there to set it otherwise, is to set it cross the place, not in the place where the Altar stood: And so Stulti dum vitant vitia— weak Men, as these Libellers are, run into one Superstition, while they would avoid another; for they run upon the Superstition of the Cross, while they seek to avoid the Superstition of the Altar. So you see here is neither Popery nor Innovation in all the practice of Queen Elizabeth, or since.
And give me leave to tell you, that a very learned Prelate of this Church, and one whom I think these Men will not accuse as a Man like to advance or usher in Popery, is of the same opinion; it is my Lord the Bishop of Salisbury.
Some difference was lately rising about placing the Communion Table in a Parish Church of his Diocess. The Bishop careful to prevent all disorder, sends his Injunction under his Hand and Seal to the Curate and Church-Wardens, to settle that business, in which he hath these two passages remarkable. I have seen and read the Order.
The first passage is this; By the Injunction of Queen Elizabeth (saith he) and by Can. 82. under King James, the Communion Tables should ordinarily be set and stand with the side to the East wall of the Chancel. Therefore this is no Innovation, since there is Injunction and Canon for it.
The other passage is this; It is Ignorance (saith that learned Bishop) to think that the standing of the Holy Table there, relishes of Popery. Therefore, if it do not so much as relish of Popery, it can neither advance it, nor usher it in. And therefore this is a most odious slander, and scandal cast upon us.
So here is enough both for the Practice and Rule of the Church of England since the Reformation. Now before that time, both in this and other Churches of Christendom, in the East and West ordinarily the Holy Table or Altar stood so: Against this Mr. Burton says little.
The one is, that the Author prevaricates from the first word to the last in the Book; for he takes on him both for the Name and for the placing of the Holy Table, and the like, to prove, that generally and universally, and ordinarily in the whole Catholick Church, both East and West, the Holy Table did not stand at the upper end of the Quire or Chancel. And this he must prove, or he doth nothing.
Now when he comes to make his Proofs, they are almost all of them particular, few or none general and concludent: For he neither brings Testimonies our of the general and received Rituals of the Eastern and Western Churches, nor of Fathers and Histories of the Church, which speak in general terms of all, but where they speak of particular Churches only.
So that suppose the most that can be, that is, suppose his quotations be all truly alledged, and true too in the sense that the Minister takes them, (tho in very truth, the places, most of them, are neither truly alledged, nor sensed) yet they are but exceptions of, and exemptions from the general practice. And you know both in Law and Reason, Exceptio firmat Regulam in non exceptis. So that upon the sudden I am not able to resolve, whether this Minister hath done more wrong to himself or his Readers, for he hath abused both.
The other is, that in the judgment of very many learned Men, which have perused this Book, the Author is clearly conceived to want a great deal of that Learning to which he pretends; or else to have written this Book wholly, and resolvedly against both his Science, and his Conscience.
And once more, before I leave the Holy Table, Name and Thing, give me leave to put you in mind, that there is no danger at all in the Altar, Name or Thing. For at the beginning of the Reformation, who there were a Law for the taking down of the Altars, and setting up of Holy Tables in the room of them; yet in some places the Altars were not suddenly removed. And what says the Queen in her Injunction to this? Why, she says, That there seems no matter of great moment in this, saving for uniformity, and the better imitation of the Law in that behalf. Therefore for any danger or hurt that was in the Altar, Name or Thing, they might have been left standing, but for Uniformity, and the Imitation of the Law.
But howsoever, it follows in the same Injunction, That when the Altar is taken down, the Holy Table shall be set in (not cross) the place where the Altar stood; which (as is aforesaid) must needs be Altar-wise,
14. The Fourteenth and the last Innovation comes with a mighty Charge, and it is taken out of an Epistle to the Temporal Lords of his Majesty's Privy Council. Of which Epistle we got one sheet, and so (for ought I yet know) that Impression staid: In that Sheet is this Charge. The words are,
The Prelates to justify their proceedings, have forged a new Article of Religion, brought from Rome, (which gives them full power to alter the Doctrine and Discipline of our Church at a blow, as they interpret it) and have foisted it (such is their language) into the beginning of the Twentieth Article of our Church. And this is in the last Edition of the Articles, Anno 1628. in affront of his Majesty's Declaration before them, &c.
The Clause (which they say is forged by us) is this: The Church (that is, the Bishops, as they expound it) hath Power to decree Rites and Ceremonies, and Authority in matters of Faith. (The word is, controversies of Faith, by their leave.) This Clause (say they) is a Forgery fit to be examined, and deeply censured in the Star-Chamber. For it is not to be found in the Latin or English Articles of Edward VI. or Queen Elizabeth, ratified by Parliament.
And then in the Margin thus, If to forge a Will or Writing be censurable in the Star-Chamber, which is but a wrong to a private Man; how much more the Forgery of an Article of Religion, to wrong the whole Church, and overturn Religion which concerns all our souls?
And truly I grant, that to forge an Article in Religion in whole or in part, and then to thrust it upon the Church, is a most henious Crime, far worse than the forging of a Deed; and is certainly very deeply censurable in this Court. And I would have humbly besought you, that a deep censure might have been laid upon it, but that this Sheet was found after, and so is not annexed to the Information, nor in Judgment at this present before you.
But then, my Lords, I must tell you, I hope to make it as clear as the Day, that this forgery was not, that this Clause mentioned was added by the Prelates to the Article, to gain power to the Church, and so to serve our turns: But that the Clause in the beginning of the Article was by-these Men, or at least by some of their Faction, razed out, and this to weaken the just power of the Church, to serve their turns.
I answer: The Articles of Edward VI. and those made under Queen Elizabeth, differ very much; and those of Edward VI. are not now binding. So whether the Clause be in our out of them, it is not much material.
But for the Articles of the Church of England, made in the Queen's time, and now in force, that this Clause for the Power of the Church to decree Ceremonies, and to have Authority in Controversies of Faith, should not be found in English or Latin Copies till the Year 1628. that it was set forth with the King's Declaration before it, is to me a Miracle. But your Lordships shall see the falshood and boldness of these Men.
What! is this affirmative Clause in no Copy, English or Latin, till the Year 1628? Strange! Why, my Lords, I have a Copy of the Article in English, of the Year 1612. and of the Year 1605. and of the Year 1593. and in Latin of the Year 1563. which was one of the first printed Copies, if not the first of all. For the Articles were agreed on but the nine and twentieth day of January,
And in all these this affirmative Clause for the Church's Power is in. And is not this strange boldness then to abuse the World, and falsly to say it is no Copy, when I my self, out of my own Store, am able to shew it in so many, and so antiently?
But, my Lords, I shall make it plainer yet: For it is not fit concerning an Article of Religion, and an Article of such consequence for the Order, Truth, and Peace of this Church, you should rely upon my Copeis, be they never so many or never so antient.
Therefore I sent to the publick Records in my Office, and here under my Officer's Hand, who is a Publick Notary, is returned me the twentieth Article with this affirmative Clause in it. And there is also the whole Body of the Articles to be seen.
By this your Lordships see how free the Prelates are from forging this part of the Article. Now let these Men quit themselves and their Faction as they can, for their Index Expurgatorius, and their soul Rasure in leaving out this part of the Article. For to leave out of an Article is as great a Crime as to put in ; and a main Rasure is as censurable in this Court as a Forgery.
The Articles, you see, were fully and fairly agreed to, and subscribed in the Year 1562/3. But after this, in the Year 1571, there were some that refused to subscribe, but why they did so is not recorded. Whether it were about this Article or any other, I know not; but in fact this is manifest, that in that Year 1571, the Articles were printed both in Latin and English, and this Clause for the Church left out of both. And certainly, this could not be done but by the malicious cunning of that opposite Faction. And tho I shall spare dead Mens Names where I have not certainty; yet if you be pleased to look back and consider who they were that governed Business in 1571, and rid the Church almost at their pleasure; and how potent the Ancestors of these Libellers began then to grow, you will think it no hard matter to have the Articles printed, and this Clause left out.
And yet it is plain, that, after the stir about Subscription in the Year 1571. the Articles were settled and subscribed unto at last, as in the Year 1562. with this Clause in them for the Church: For looking farther into the Records which are in mine own Hands, I have found the Book of 1562/3. subscribed by all the Lower House of Convocation, in this very Year of Contradiction, 1571. Dr. John Elmar, (who was after Lord Bishop of London) being there Prolocutor: Alexander Nowel, Dean of St.Paul's, having been Prolocutor in 1562/3 and yet living and present and subscribing in 1571. Therefore I do here openly in Star-Chamber charge upon that pure Sect this soul corruption of falsifying the Articles of the Church of England; let them take it off as they can.
Some few more there are, but they belong to matter of Doctrine, which shall presently be answered, Justo Volumine, at large, to satisfy all well-minded People. But when Mr. Burton's Book, which is the main one, is answered, (I mean his Book, not his Railing) neither Pryn, nor Bastwick, nor any Attendants upon Rabshekah, shall by me or my care be answered. If this Court find not a way to stop these Libellers Mouths and Pens, for me they shall rail on till they be weary.
Yet one thing more I beseech you give me leave to add. It is Mr. Burton's Charge upon the Prelates, That the Censures formerly laid upon Malefactors are now put upon God's Ministers for their Virtue and Piety.
A heavy Charge this too. But if he, or any Man else, can shew that any Man hath been punished in the High Commission or elsewhere, by the Prelates, for Virtue and Piety, there is all the reason in the World we should be severly punished our selves. But the truth is, the Virtue and Piety for which these Ministers are punished, is for preaching Schism and Sedition, many of their Sermons being as bad as their Libels; as Burton's Libel was one of his Sermons first. But whether this Stuff have any affinity with Virtue and Piety, I submit to any Christian Reader.
And yet Mr. Burton is so confident of his Innocency, even in this Cause wherein he hath so soully carried himself, that he breaks forth into these words. I never so much as once dreamed, that Impiety and Impudency it self, in such as Christian State as this is, and under such a gracious Prince, durst ever thus publickly have called me in question, and that upon the open Stage, &c.
I shall end all with a passage out of St. Cyprian (fn. 7); when he, then Bishop of Carthage, was bitterly railed upon by a pack of Schismaticks, his Answer was, and it is now mine: They have railed both bitterly and falsly upon me, and yet Non oportes me paria cum illis facere: It becomes not me to answer them with the like, either Levities or Revilings; but to speak and write that only which becomes Sacerdotem Dei, a Priest of God.
Neither shall I in this give way (tho I have been extreamly vilified) to either Grief or Passion to speak, remembring that of the Psalmist, Psal. 37. 8. Fret not thy self, else shalt thou be moved to de evil.
Neither yet, by God's Grace, shall the Reproaches of such Men as these make me saint or start aside, either from the right way in matter of practice, (they are St.Cyprian's words again) or à certa regula, from the certain Rule of Faith.
And since, in former times, some spared not to call the Master of the House Beelzebub, how much more will they be bold with them of his Household, as it is in St.Matthew, Chap. 10. 25. and so bold have these Men been; but the next words of our Saviour are, Fear them not.
I humbly crave pardon of your Lordships for this my necessary length, and give you all hearty thanks for your noble Patience, and your just and honourable Censure upon these Men, and your unanimous dislike of them, and defence of the Church.