Page images

Jesuit, before the marquis of Buckingham and his mother, in order to confirm those noble personages in the Protestant religion. An account of this conference having been eirculated by the Papists to their own advantage; an impartial relation of it was published in 1624, by Dr. White, dean of Ely. This work is a most effectual refutation of popery, and was recommended by King Charles I. just before his death to his children. Even Sir Edward Deering, a noted leader among the factious party of the House of Commons, and no friend to the bishops, had the candour, in one of his speeches, to confess, that in this book the archbishop had effectually served the Protestant cause, and smote Antichrist under the fifth rib. Another edition of it appeared in folio, in 1637.

The result of this conference was a close friendship between him and Buckingham, which was not interrupted till the assassination of that unpopular favourite. This intimacy was very unpleasant to the lord keeper Williams, who regarded Laud as standing between him and the royal favour; and, in consequence, many misunderstandings were occasioned on both sides. Archbishop Abbot still continued his old animosity against our enterprizing prelate; and, in 1624, he shewed it by leaving his name out of the high commission. Of this injury the bishop complained to the duke of Buckingham, and then his name was inserted. But though he was undoubtedly very attentive to that nobleman, and assisted him in a variety of respects, it is no less certain, that he had the courage to oppose him when the interests of the Church were in danger of being violated by his ambition and avarice. Buckingham had a covetous eye upon the Charter-house, and the better to gain his object, pretended that it ought to be appropriated to the King's service. Laud, however, saw through the business, and, by his zealous endeavours, prevented the sacrilegious project from being carried into execution. But this did not produce any alienation of the duke's esteem for him; on the contrary, a regular correspondence was kept up between them during Buck ingham's journey to Spain with Prince Charles.

That prince, soon after his accession to the throne, wanting to regulate the number of his chaplains, and to know the principles and qualifications of the most eminent divines in his kingdom, our bishop was ordered to draw up a list of them, which he did, distinguishing someby the letter O, for Orthodox, and others by P, for Puri


tans. At that king's coronation, Feb. 2, 1625-6, he officiated as Dean of Westminster, in the room of Bishop Williams, who was then in disgrace: on which occasion he has been falsely charged with having altered the coronation oath. In 1626, he was translated from St. David's to the bishopric of Bath and Wells; and in 1628 to that of London. October 3, 1626, the King appointed him Dean of the Chapel Royal, and the year following he was sworn one of the privy Council. He was in the commission for exercising archiepiscopal jurisdiction during Archbishop Abbot's sequestration. In the third parliament of King Charles, he was voted to be one of the favourers of the Arminians, which, by that wise assembly, was reckoned an offence equal to the favouring Popery. On that occasion Francis Rous, afterwards speaker of Oliver Cromwell's parliament, made this remarkable speech: "I desire that we may consider the increase of Arminianism, an error that makes the Grace of God lackey it after the will of man, that makes the sheep to keep the shepherd, and makes a mortal seed of an immor tal God. Yea, I desire that we may look into the very belly and bowels of this Trojan Horse, to see if there be not men in it ready to open the gates to Romish tyranny and Spanish monarchy; for an Arminian is the spawn of a Papist; and if there come the warmth of favour upon him, you shall see him turn into one of those frogs that rise out of the bottomless pit: and if you mark it well, you shall see an Arminian reaching out his hand to a Papist, a Papist to a Jesuit, a Jesuit gives one hand to the Pope, another to the King of Spain; and these men, having kindled a fire in our neighbour country, now they have brought some of it over hither to set on flame this kingdom also. Here let us further search and consider, whether these be not the men that break in upon the goods and liberties of this commonwealth; for by this means they make way for the taking away of our religion *."

The ingenious and candid writer of the Archbishop's life, in the Biographia Britannica, first edition, justly observes upon this fanatical rant; strange it is that any one should have the privilege of venting such notorious and palpable untruths, in so august an assembly! James Van Harmin, or Arminius, was as far distant from Po


Rushwerth, part i. p. 645.

Vol. VII. Churchm. Mag. July, 1804.

C pery,




pery, as Gomarus, or any other of his most zealous
So was the excellent Philip à Limborch, &c.; and
so were those eminent English divines in the last century,
who dared to make use of their reason, and after a due
examination, embraced Van Harmin's opinions about
Predestination and Grace*."

[ocr errors]

But to return to our bishop. His great intimacy with the Duke of Buckingham, rendered him very obnoxious to the popular party, and as he was suspected of being the writer of the King's speeches, it raised a great clamour against him, and his life was threatened. A paper was found in the dean of St. Paul's yard, to this effect: Laud, look to thyself; be assured thy life is sought. As thou art the fountain of all wickedness, repent thee of thy monstrous sins, before thou be taken out of the world, &c. and assure thyself, neither God nor the world can endure such a vile counsellor to live, or such a whisperer;" or to this effect. Upon this infamous paper, the bishop, in his diary, makes the following Christian and humble reflection: "Lord, I am a grievous sinner! but, I beseech thee, deliver my soul from them that hate me without a cause+."

[ocr errors]

About the same time he was put into an ungracious office, namely, in a commission for raising monies by impositions or otherwise; which the Commons called Excises; but it does not appear to have been executed. Amidst all his employments, his care did not slacken towards the place of his education, the university of Oxford; for, in order to put an end to the tumultuary and factious manner of electing the proctors, he fixed them to the several colleges according to rotation; and caused to be collected and put in order the broken and imperfect statutes of that university, which had lain for some centuries in a confused heap. On the 12th of April, 1630, he was elected Chancellor of Oxford, and made it his business the rest of his life to adorn it with buildings, and to enrich it with valuable books, manuscripts, coins, and medals. He began with the place of his education, St. John's College, where he built the inner quadrangle,

Biog. Brit. vol. v. p. 2082, note W. As the doctrines of Calvin have been, and still are false y charged upon our Church, we beg leave here to recommend to our readers an unanswerabla piece, entitled "The Articles of the Church of England proved not to be Calvinistic, by Thomas Kipling, D. D. dean of Peterborough." Second edition, 8vo.

Diary, p. 44.


(except part of the outside of it, which was the old library,) in a solid and elegant manner. He also gave several MSS. to the library, and 5001. by will to the college*. Next, being resolved to free St. Mary's church from the inconveniences and profanation which the continual keeping of the public convocations and congregations in it must be attended with, (for they were then held in that church,) he erected a stately and most elegant pile at the west end of the divinity school, and Bodleian library; the lower part whereof was for the keeping of the convocations and other public meetings of the university and the upper part, opening into the public library, was for the reception of books; in which are deposited his own MSS. Mr. Selden's library, &c. He had also projected to clear the great square between St. Mary's church and the schools; where now stands the Radcliffe library; and to have raised a fair and capacious room, upon pillars, the upper part to serve for convocations and congregations; the lower for a walk or place of conference, in which students of all sorts might confer together, when they resorted to the schools, the library, or upon any other occasion. But the owners of the houses there not being willing to part, with them, he was forced to drop that grand design.

Besides a large quantity of books and medals, which he bestowed upon the University, he enriched the public library there with thirteen hundred MSS. in Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, Ægyptian, Æthiopian, Armenian, Turkish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, Saxon, English, and Irish. He founded also an Arabic lecture, of which the learned Edward Pocock was the first professor.

After the murder of the duke of Buckingham, our bishop became the chief favourite of king Charles, which indeed increased his power and interest; but at the same time raised him a host of enemies, and at length proved his destruction. In order to put a stop to the prevalent disputes concerning God's decrees, he advised his majesty to reprint the Thirty-nine Articles, with a royal declaration at the head of them, by which it was ordered, that "no man hereafter shall either print or preach to draw the article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and


* Wood's Hist. and Antiq. Univ. Oxon. 1. ii. p. 310. Heylyn, ut sup. 211, Heylyn, p. 379. ‡ Wood, u. s. lib. ii, p. 52.


full meaning thereof: and shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense." This declaration so alarmed the Calvinists, that they drew up a petition. wherein they complained of the restraints they were laid under by his Majesty's forbidding them to preach the saving doctrines of God's free grace in election and predestination to eternal life, according to the 17th Article of the Church, &c." The House of Commons also took fire at this declaration, and because they could not pass an act in violation of the King's supremacy, they entered into this uncommon vow: "We the Commons in Parliament assembled, do claim, protest, and avow for truth, the sense of the articles of religion which were established by Parliament in the thirteenth year of our late queen Elizabeth, which, by the public act of the Church of England, and by the general and current expositions of the writers of our Church, have been delivered unto us. And we reject the sense of the Jesuits and Arminians, and all others wherein they differ from us *.”

[ocr errors]

This singular piece is as full of falsehood as it is of intolerance; for no Parliament whatever in that queen's reign established the sense of the articles," nor was there ever any public act of the Church" herself to that › effect.

Bishop Laud was not to be daunted by this resolution of the Commons; but was determined to check the progress of Puritanism, which had already made sad havock upon the peace of the Church. He, therefore, procured some instructions relating to bishops and lecturers to be published, by which the former were pressed to residence, and the latter were required to be conformable to the Canons of the Church. Unexceptionable, and really necessary as these injunctions were, they gave great offence to the puritanical party. Nor was the repair of St. Paul's cathedral, which he undertook, better approved of, though much wanted: nay, it was afterwards imputed to him as a crime, So likewise was his consecration of of St. Catherine Cree Church, in 1630, concerning which the most shameful falsehoods were trumped up at his trial, and have frequently been reported by historians, though the archbishop clearly refuted them. The fact was, our prelate made use of a form on that occasion,


Heylyn, p. 369,

† Wood, u, s lib, ii. p. 53,

« PreviousContinue »