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Roman Catholic, turned him out of doors; so he returned home, and, in the year 1548, having acquired a competent stock of grammar-learning, he was entered at Queen's College, Cambridge, whence he soon removed to Pembroke-hall, and was put under the tuition of Mr. Bradford, who afterwards suffered martyrdom in Queen Mary's persecution. At his entrance into Pembroke-hall, he obtained a scholarship, and the office of Bible-clerk. In the year 1553, he commenced Bachelor of Arts; and, two years after, he was unanimously elected Fellow of Peter-house.
In the year 1577, a visitation of the university was held, under the authority of Cardinal Pole, on which occasion the dead bodies of Bucer and Fagius were dug up, and publicly burnt: an inhuman act, which honest Strype, forgetting, for the moment, the treatment of the remains of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw, in the reign of Charles II, characterizes as “ agreeable only to Popish barbarity.” Whitgift was so much alarmed at the approach of this visitation, that he meditated retiring beyond the seas; but, by the kindness of Doctor Perne, the master of Peter-house, who promised to shelter him, if he would keep his religious opinions to himself, he was induced to stay, and, by his prudent reserve, escaped the impending danger. During the remainder of Mary's reign, however, he must, though his biographer does not mention the circumstance, have lived in outward conformity to the church of Rome. But for this offence, in our estimation, he atoned by his gratitude to his benefactor, Dr. Perne, whom, in the days of his prosperity, he received into his archiepiscopal palace, where the good old man ended his days in the year
1589. In the year 1560, Whitgift entered into holy orders, and continuing his studies in college, he proceeded, in due course, to take the degrees of Master of Arts and Bachelor in Divinity. In 1568, Dr. Richard Cox, Bishop of Ely, who had already given him the rectory of Teversham, in Cambridgeshire, made him a prebendary of
his cathedral. Five years antecedently to this, he had been appointed Lady Margaret's Lecturer in Divinity; on which occasion, the salary of that office was increased from twenty marks to twenty pounds per annum.
Soon after his promotion to this dignity, Whitgift began his political career, by joining the heads of houses in an address to Cecil, chancellor of the university, praying him to procure the interposition of the queen, for a restraint of the franchises of the younger members, in the election of the vice-chancellor and the proctors, the exercise of which, they alleged, was productive of much intrigue and disturbance, to the interruption of painful study, and the disgrace of the gospel. A year or two after this, he again associated himself with several masters of
colleges, in petitioning the chancellor not to press upon the members of the university the wearing of the surplice, to which many of them objected: but for this interference he received a reprimand, which operated so effectually on his feelings, that he never afterwards relapsed into the sin of liberality. By bis humble submission to reproof, he so far cleared away any stigma which might have attached to his character as a divine, that he was, soon afterwards, summoned to preach before the queen, who was so well pleased with his discourse, that she appointed hin one of her chaplains. Ascending in the scale of collegiate honours, in the year 1567, he commenced Doctor in Divinity; and, in the same year, he was chosen master of his old college, Pembroke-hall, from whence he was, in the short space of three months, at the instance of Cecil, preferred to the important and dignified stations of Master of Trinity College and Regius Professor of Divinity, which he held till the year 1569. Soon after his entrance on the mastership of Trinity, he evinced his zeal as a disciplinarian, by insisting upon it that the king's readers should, according to statute, resume their lectures in the quarter between Midsummer and Michaelmas, which had been for some time suspended; but the defaulters, by the patronage of Cecil, procured from her majesty a dispensation from that duty. In the same year, he was nominated as one of certain commissioners appointed to investigate the character and conduct of the provost of King's college, who was suspected of Popery, and, rather than submit to inquiry, fled from
the university. In the course of the ensuing year, Dr. Whitgift was mainly instrumental in procuring for the university a new set of statutes, by which additional powers were given to the heads of houses, to preserve discipline, and to check the irregularities which had crept into all the colleges, with respect to the wearing of the clerical habits. At this period, then, commenced the active warfare, which, during the whole course of the remainder of his life, he waged against the Puritans.
The sect of the Puritans derived its origin from the persecution which took place in the reign of Queen Mary. At that perilous season, many of the English Protestant divines fled to the continent, where they met with a cordial welcome from the disciples of Calvin and Zuinglius, who permitted them to open churches in Strasburg, Frankfort, Basle, Geneva, Arau, and Zurich. During their residence abroad, many of them imbibed a taste for the simple mode of worship of the foreign reformed churches ; were convinced of the scriptural authority of Presbyterian ordination; held in dislike episcopal church government; and abominated the habits worn by the English priesthood, and especially the surplice, as remnants of Popery. These notions they industriously disseminated on their return to their
own country, and they disseminated them with such effect, that they were not only embraced by a considerable proportion of the commonalty of the land, but had made great progress in the universities, and had even insinuated themselves into her majesty's court. Elizabeth, however, regarded these innovators with undisguised displeasure. She looked upon them as presumptuous challengers of her claim to ecclesiastical supremacy, and shrewdly suspected them of having imported, from Geneva, republican principles of civil government, as well as' erroneous notions of church discipline. By vigorously attacking the Puritans, then, a learned polemic, at this crisis, stood a fair chance of fighting his way to the highest ecclesiastical dignities. Such seems to have been the opinion of Whitgift, who, when he felt an inclination for theological combat, soon found a notable adversary in Thomas Cartwright, B.D., the Lady Margaret's Reader of Divinity, who, both in his lectures and in his conversation, boldly impugned episcopal church government and the established liturgy. With this arch-schismatic, as Strype informs us, Dr. Whitgift had to enter the lists, "in disputing and writing: against him as a divine, and in punishing him as an unruly member of the university.” This disputation, then, was not conducted on equal terms. The master of Trinity held over his antagonist the rod of discipline; and, when he failed to convince him by his arguments, by his representations to Cecil, and by his interest with the academic authorities, he caused him to be deprived of his readership, and, ultimately, to be expelled from the university. At this treatment, which he calls “a brisk and necessary opposition,” honest Strype is much scandalized that Cartwright should have manifested much indignation.
In consideration of the zeal which he had thus exerted in defence of the established religion, Dr. Whitgift was, in the year 157), promoted to the vice-chancellorship of the university. He was, also, appointed Dean of Lincoln, by dispensation granted to him by the Archbishop of Canterbury; and, towards the end of the year, a new parliament being summoned, he was called upon to preach before the Convocation, of which body he was, in the month of May ensuing, nominated Prolocutor.
It should seem, that about this time, Dr. Whitgift, by the strictness of his discipline, had given umbrage to some influential members of the university, whose displeasure had such an effect upon his spirits, that he had formed a resolution to retire to one of his livings; but that, by the request of the Chancellor Burleigh, he was induced to continue to reside at his college.
The Puritans, finding themselves much aggrieved by the restraints which were laid upon their endeavours to disseminate their principles, and being well aware that they had many
friends amongst the landed gentry, from which class the members of the house of commons were at this time almost invariably chosen, looked forward, with delusive hope, to the meeting of the fourth parliament of Elizabeth, which was opened on the eighth day of May, 1572. To prepare the way for the introduction of bills for their relief, some of their leading ministers drew up and published two books, entitled “Admonition to the Parliament," and A Second Admonition.” These publications struck at the foundation of the church established by law, invalidating its ministry, vilifying its discipline, and inveighing against its ritual. Roused by the temerity of this attack, Dr. Whitgift came forth to the combat, and, in an elaborate and skilful answer to these offensive works, he not only rebutted the arguments of his antagonists, by the usual references to the fathers and to ecclesiastical history, but by reminding his readers of the disturbances created by the Donatists of old, and by the Anabaptists of modern times, excited in the breasts of persons in power apprehensions, that the exertions of the advocates of a further reformation in religion would endanger the tranquillity of the state ; and, following up this alarm, he called upon the civil magistracy, “ to awake out of sleep, and draw the sword of discipline.”
Whatever effect Whitgift's book may have had upon statesmen, it seems not to have allayed the heat of discord amongst scholars : on the contrary, it occasioned such dissensions in the University of Cambridge, that Dr. Clark, Fellow of Peterhouse, a man of considerable literary attainments, and Milayne, Fellow of Christ's College, were, for impugning its principles in sermons respectively preached by them at St. Mary's, deprived of their college preferments, and banished from the university.
“ The beginning of strife is like the letting out of water.” -Dr. Whitgift's “ Answer to the Admonition,” had not been long published, before his old opponent, Cartwright, came forth with a pungent reply to it, which, as Strype records with due lamentation, made such a sensation in London, that Cartwright was openly countenanced by many of the aldermen of that city, whilst his doctrine was publicly vindicated by some popular preachers at Paul's cross; by which proceedings, the Bishop of London was so scandalized, that he wrote to the queen, advising, “ that some sharp letter should be sent to the City by her majesty, to rebuke and check these courses.” Dr. Whitgift, on this occasion, again descended into the arena of controversy ; and, in the year 1573, published a “ DEFENCE” of the Church of England, in which he answered Cartwright's “Reply,” paragraph by paragraph, with great learning and acuteness; and, considering the provocation which his pre
judices had received, with great moderation. His new labours, in the cause of the Establishment, were speedily rewarded by his promotion, at the instance of the queen, to the Deanery of Lincoln. Whilst he was thus basking in the sunshine of royal favour, he appears to have read with indifference two pamphlets, produced by the prolific pen of Cartwright, in his answer to his « Defence. At least, he did not reply to them, except in a sermon, which he preached before the queen, on the 26th of March, 1574, and in which he lamented the support which was given to puritanical principles by persons of high rank," whose office and duty it were rather to suppress this fond affection than to nourish it;" and endeavoured to awaken the fears of her majesty, by declaring, that these principles tended to "the disturbance of the Church, the contempt of magistrates, and the breach of good laws and orders.”
During the remaining time of his residence in Cambridge, Whitgift was actively employed in the maintenance of discipline, and the curbing of the spirit of innovation, till at length, in the year 1576, on being nominated to the Bishopric of Worcester, he was called to display his talents in a higher sphere. His election was confirmed April 16, 1577; and on the Sunday following, April 21st, he went through the ceremony of consecration.
At this time, the jealousy of the queen had been roused by certain meetings, called Prophecies, which were held by the more serious and zealous of the clergy, for the purpose of mutual instruction and edification. These meetings she regarded as unauthorized, and as opening a door to innovation in the established worship; and signified her pleasure to Archbishop Grindal, that he should instruct the bishops under his jurisdiction to put them down. The metropolitan, however, being convinced of their utility, declined to comply with her majesty's commands, at which Elizabeth was so incensed, that, with her characteristic decision, she suspended the rebellious priest; and, directly exercising her supremacy in spirituals, issued her letters to the above purport, in her own name, to the prelates, and, amongst the rest, to Whitgift, who, it is almost, unnecessary to remark, readily complied with her requisition. In recompence for his duteous conduct in this particular, he was made vice-president of the Marches of Wales. In the exercise of this office, he received information, that mass had been said in the house of one John Edwards, of Thirsk, in the county of Denbigh ; and that upon St. Winifred's day, “ Mrs. Edwards went to Holywell by night, and there heard mass in the night season ; that they carried thither with them by night, in mails and cloak-bags, all things pertaining to the saying of mass; and that these mass sayers used their audience to re