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N 1640, Fuller sat in the memorable
Convocation of that year, the acts of which the reader will find in Nalson's Collections. Both Fuller and
Heylyn also have written copiously upon it. I shall not go into a minute account of its proceedings; that would be fitter for a Church History than for a memoir, and would be but wearisome to such as are not professed Churchantiquaries.
On Tuesday, April 14th, the Convocation assembled in the Chapter-house of St. Paul's, and proceeded thence to hear the sermon in the choir, Dr. Turner, Chaplain to Laud, and Canon Residentiary of St. Paul's,* made a Latin sermon from
* Dr. Turner was a native of Reading, and admitted a scholar of St. John's College, Oxford, 1610. Laud made him his domestic Chaplain, Prebendary of Newington, and Chancellor of St. Paul's in 1629, and brought him into the royal favour. So he was made one of the King's Chaplains, D.D. in 1633; went that year with the King to Scotland; and in February 1641, was installed Dean of Rochester, in the place of Dr. Henry King, now Bishop of Chichester.
Matth. x. 16. Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Toward the close of his sermon he animadverted upon such of the Bishops as followed not closely in the steps of his patron, in pressing conformity strictly, upbraiding them as seekers of popularity, by whose lukewarm courses the other Bishops were unjustly exposed to the charge of tyranny. After the service, Dr. Richard Stewart, Dean of Chichester, was chosen Prolocutor.
On Wednesday the 15th, the Convocation met in Henry VII. Chapel, Westminster. Dr. Stewart was presented by Sheldon to Laud as Prolocutor, and the Archbishop, in a speech of about three quarters of an hour's length, deplored the calamities of the times.
He was also Rector of St. Olave's Southwark. In 1643, the King made him Dean of Canterbury. He was restored, to his preferments in 1660, and dying October 8th, 1672, or thereabouts, was buried on the 17th in the Cathedral of Canterbury. He was the father of Dr. Turner, Bishop of Ely, the non-juror. Dean Turner married Margaret, daugh-' ter of Sir Francis Windebanke, Secretary of State to Charles I.
Dr. Richard Stewart, the Prolocutor, was born of a genteel family in Northamptonshire, was a commoner of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, 1608; Fellow of All Soul's College, 1613, D.C.L. 1624; Prebendary of the first stall, Worcester, 1628 ; Dean of Chichester, 1634; Prebendary of Westminster, 1638; Prebendary of Pancras, 1641, being then also Provost of Eaton, and Dean of the Chapel Royal. He was designed for the Deanery of Westminster, 1645. He went over to Paris, and died there 1651. Ten of his ser mons are extant.
The more moderate feared the result of this assembling, lest, untaught by the sad experience of the past, the Primate and his friends should insert into the new canons their obnoxious innovations.
Five canons were made in this convocation previously to the dissolution of parliament. The first, concerning the regal power, appears (according to Heylyn) not to have been considered until after the dissolution of parliament. That which is reckoned the third was first treated of, for suppressing the further growth of Popery, and reducing Papists to the Church. But this was suddenly withdrawn for revision; the Convocation proceeding with the second, for the better keeping of the day of his Majesty's most happy inauguration. For the reduction of the Papists, conferences were to be appointed to which they were to be compelled to
Recusants were to be excommunicated and prosecuted in the High Commission Court, and to be forbidden to keep school. Another canon was passed to check Socinianism, which appears to have increased more rapidly in this reign than under the sway of those doctrines which had been depressed by Laud and his followers in the new light of the pretended Via Media.
This canon was followed by another against Sectaries, Anabaptists, Brownists, Separatists, Familists, and depravers of the Liturgy, and against their books, and the printers and publishers of them, &c.
So far the Bishops and Clergy had proceeded in the work recommended to them, when the parlia
ment was most unhappily dissolved. “His Majesty," says Hacket, “had been forewarned by a worthy counsellor, and a dying man, against that error in the Christmas before, cujus mortem dolor omnium celebrem fecit, Sym. Ep. p. 11. It was Lord Keeper Coventry, who made but one request with his last breath to the king, and sent it by Mr. James Maxwell of the bedchamber, that his Majesty would take all distastes from the parliament summoned against April with patience, and suffer it to sit without an unkind dissolution. But the barking of the living dogs was sooner heard than the groaning of a dying lion ; for that parliament ended in a few days, in its infancy, and in its innocency, but the grief for it will never end."*
Parliament was dissolved on Tuesday, May 5th, and on Wednesday the Convocation met, with a general expectation of dissolving also; which would probably have taken place, but that one of the Clergy made the Archbishop acquainted with a precedent in Queen Elizabeth's time, for the granting a subsidy or benevolence by convocation, to be taxed and levied by synodical acts and constitutions, without help of the parliament; directing to the records of the Convocation where it was to be found.t
Soon after this, a new commission was brought from his Majesty, “ by virtue whereof,” says Fuller,
* Bishop Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams, Pt. ii.
+ Heylyn's Life of Laud, p. 429.
we were warranted still to sit, not in the capacity of a Convocation, but of a synod, to prepare our canons for the royal assent thereunto. But Dr. Brownrigg, Dr. Hacket, Dr. Holdsworth, Mr. Warmistre, with others to the number of thirty-six (the whole house consisting of about six score) earnestly protested against the continuance of the Convocation.” Amongst these was Fuller himself, but they did not enter a record of their protest, which Fuller acknowledges in his “ Appeal of Injured Innocence" to have been an oversight. However, they “ importunely pressed that it might sink with the parliament, it being ominous and without precedent, that the one should survive when the other was expired. To satisfy these, an instrument was brought into synod, signed with the hands of the Lord Privy Seal (the Earl of Manchester), the two Chief Justices (Finch and Littleton), and other Judges, justifying our so sitting in the nature of a synod, to be legal, according to the laws of the realm.” “ This,” says our author, “ made the aforesaid thirty-six dissenters (though solemnly making their oral protests to the contrary, yet) not to dissever themselves, or enter any act in scriptis against the legality of this assembly: the rather, because they hoped to moderate proceedings with their presence. Surely some of their own coat, which since have censured these dissenters for cowardly compliance, and doing no more in this cause, would have done less themselves, if in their condition.”
“ Now, because great bodies move slowly, and