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ford in Northamptonshire, into which he was inducted November 13, 1607; and in the following year he obtained the advowson of North Kilworth in Leicestershire. About the same time he took his degree of D. D. At the recommendation of Dr. Buckeridge, he was made chaplain to Richard Neile, Bishop of Rochester; and that he might be near his patron, he exchanged North Kilworth for the rectory of West Tilbury, in Essex, into which he was inducted October 28, 1609. The Bishop gave him shortly after, the living of Cuckstone in Kent; upon which he resigned his fellowship, and went to reside at that place; but the unhealthiness of the air obliged him to exchange that living for Norton in the same county, though it was of less value. On the promotion of Dr. Buckeridge, president of St. John's College, to the see of Rochester, Dr. Laud was proposed for his successor. This so irritated Dr. Abbot, now Archbishop of Canterbury, that he sent a letter to the Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, charging Laud "with being at least a papist in his heart, and cordially addicted unto popery that he kept company with none but professed and suspected papists; and that if he were suffered to have any place of government in the ministry, it would undoubtedly turn to the great detriment of religion and dishonour of his lordship."
We are not inclined to speak unfavourably of that prelate, but certainly no liberal person can offer any excuse for conduct so extremely uncharitable as this. Because Dr. Laud did not hold the same sentiments as Calvin's or Augustin's followers, about free-will, predestination, &c. the conclusion was, that he must be a papist! The archbishop's letter, however, had so much weight with the chancellor, that he laid the complaints before the King, which had like to have destroyed the Doctor's credit, interest, and advancement at once, had not Bishop Neile, fortunately, interposed to efface those evil impressions, and to refute those calumnies. May 10, 1611, he was elected president of his college by a majority of fellows, though he was then sick in London, and unable either to make interest in person, or by writing to his friends. Some of his competitors having appealed to King James, his Majesty not only confirmed his election, August 29th following, but as a farther token of his favour, caused him to be sworn one of his chaplains in ordinary. In 1614, Bishop Neile, lately translated to
Lincoln, gave him the prebend of Bugden in that cathedral; and the year following the archdeaconry of Huntingdon.
In November 1616, the King gave him the deanry of Gloucester, on which occasion his Majesty required him to reform and set in order what was amiss in that cathedral, which, as he said, was worse governed and more out of order than any other in the kingdom. This is an evident proof that Dr. Laud was not so obnoxious to that monarch as some of his enemies have reported; and it further serves to show, that in the reformation of abuses he acted not so much of his own authority, as by the express injunction of his sovereign. On receiving this command, the new dean hastened to Gloucester, where he found the church in a sad condition, and many things out of order; particularly the communion table standing almost in the middle of the choir, contrary to the position of it in the King's chapel, and all the cathedral churches which he had seen. Whereupon he called a chapter of the prebendaries, and having acquainted them with the King's instructions, easily obtained their consent to two chapter-acts; the one for the speedy repairing of the church where it was most necessary; the other for transposing the communion table to the east end of the choir, and placing it along the wall, according to the situation of it in other cathedral churches; which alteration being made, he recommended to the members of that church, to make their humble reverence to Almighty God, not only at their first entrance into the choir, but at their approaches towards the Holy Table. But these alterations gave great uneasiness to several persons, especially to Dr. Miles Smith, then Bishop of Gloucester, who, it is said, never set foot again in the church as long as he lived. A strange instance of weakness and superstition in a bishop who wished to be thought the opponent of superstitious practices: yet this Dr. Smith was unquestionably a learned man, and an elegant writer, as his admirable preface to the present translation of the Bible sufficiently
Soon after Dr. Laud's appointment to this deanry, he was chosen to attend the King in his journey to Scotland; but before he set out, by his means, some royal di
* Heylyn, p. 63, 64,
rections were sent to Oxford for the better government of that university.
The design of King James's journey was to bring the Church of Scotland to a uniformity with that of England; but the Scots were Scots, as Dr. Heylyn expresses it, and resolved to go their own way, whatever should be the consequence. So that the King gained nothing by this expensive journey, but the neglect of his commands and a contempt of his authority. Dr. Laud, on his return from Scotland, August 2, 1617, was inducted to the rectory of Ibstock, in Leicestershire, which he obtained of the Bishop of Rochester, in exchange for Norton. January 22, 1620-1, he was installed Prebendary of Westminster, of which his friend, Bishop Neile, had procured him the grant ten before. About this time it was generally expected, and even by himself, that he would have succeeded to the deanry of that church; but this preferment he missed, through the influence of Dr. Williams, then dean, who obtained leave to keep it in commendam with the bishopric of Lincoln, to which he was just promoted.
To make some amends to Laud for this disappointment, Williams, it is said, recommended him to the bishopric of St. David's, which was become vacant by the translation of Dr. Melbourne to the see of Carlisle. As there were several bickerings afterwards between these two eminent prelates, the apologists for Williams have not scrupled to charge Laud with the basest ingratitude to the man who got him a bishopric against the inclination of King James, who, they pretended, had a great aversion to him. All this, however, is ill-founded and malignant. The King, when he gave Dr. Laud the deanry of Gloucester, expressly told him that "it was a shell without a kernel," and " only an earnest of his future favour." This, together with his choosing Laud to accompany him to Scotland, sufficiently refutes the silly tale of his being particularly obnoxious to that monarch. And that Williams was the generous friend to whom Dr. Laud owed his advancement is equally untrue; for that politic prelate, not content with the place of Lord-keeper, and the rich bishopric of Lincoln, was anxious to retain the deanry also; and, because Laud had been promised that dignity, he could devise no other means of getting rid of the difficulty, than by procuring for his rival the poor bishopric of St. David's. Archbishop Abbot, how
ever, was much vexed at this promotion, of a man whose sentiments differed so much from his own; and endeavoured all that he could to keep him from the episcopal bench. Abbot was a rigid Calvinist, and a warm friend and patron of the Puritans. Laud was known to incline, in some respects, to the principles of Arminius, and regarded the Puritans as enemies to the constitution of the Church of England; and the encouragement of whom, he thought, would be productive of serious mischief to her interests. Which of these prelates was right in his opinions and conclusions, the reader will best be enabled to judge by viewing the conduct of that party in the subsequent reign. Dr. Laud was nominated Bishop of St. David's, June 29, 1621, and consecrated November 18th, by the Bishops of London, Worcester, Chichester, Ely, Landaff, and Oxford; the archbishop being under some disability on account of the casual homicide of the keeper of Bramshill park. Our new bishop was suffered to keep the presidentship of St. John's College, and also the prebend of Westminter; but the former he resigned out of a conscientious regard to the college statute.
In January 1622-3, the King gave him, in commendam, the rectory of Creeke, in Northamptonshire; and in the same year his Majesty published directions concerning preachers and preaching, in which bishop Laud is said to have had a hand. These directions were as follow: "1. That no preacher under the degree of a bishop or dean, (and that only upon festivals) do take occasion, by the expounding of any text, to fall into any set course or common place, otherwise than by opening the coherence and division of his text, which shall not be comprehended within some one of the articles of religion, or some of the homilies. 2. That no parson, lecturer, &c. shall preach any sermon upon Sundays, and holidays in the afternoon, but upon some part of the Catechism, or some text taken out of the Creed, Commandments, or the Lord's Prayer. 3. That no preacher, under the degree of a bishop or dean, do presume to preach in any popular auditory, the deep points of Predestination, Election, Reprobation, or of the Universality, Efficacy, Resistibility or Irresistibility of God's grace; but rather leave those themes to be handled by learned men, and that modestly and moderately, by use and application, rather than by way of positive doctrine, as being fitter for schools and universities, than for simple auditories. 4.
That no preacher shall presume, in any auditory, to declare, limit, or bound by positive doctrine, in any lecture or sermon, the power, prerogative, jurisdiction, authority or duty of sovereign princes; or therein meddle with matters of state, and reference between princes and people, than as they are instructed in the homily of obedience, and in the rest of the homilies and articles of religion; but rather confine themselves wholly to those two heads of Faith and Good Life, which are all the subject of the antient sermons and homilies. 5. That no preacher shall carelessly, and without any invitation from the text, fall into any bitter invectives and undecent railing speeches against the Papists or Puritans: but, when they are occasioned thereunto by the text of scripture, free both the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England from the aspersions of either adversary. 6. That the archbishops and bishops be more wary and choice in licensing of preachers: and that all the lecturers throughout the kingdom (a new body severed from the antient clergy of England, as being neither parson, vicar, or curate) be licensed henceforward in the court of faculties, only upon recommendation of the party from the bishop of the diocese, under his hand and seal, with a fiat from the archbishop of Canterbury, and a confirmation under the great seal of England."
These directions were levelled against the puritanical lecturers, who were rigid Calvinists, and instead of preaching upon practical subjects, distracted the minds of their hearers by the perplexing questions of Election and Reprobation. Fuller also acknowledges, that "many shallow preachers, at that time handled the profound points of predestination; wherein (pretending to guide their flocks) they lost themselves *." It is very observable also that preachers of this cast were but too prone to meddle with "matters of State," and to "bound, by way of positive doctrine, the power, prerogative, jurisdiction, authority and duty of sovereign princes," otherwise the fourth direction would hardly have been framed. It was time, therefore, that some restraint should be put upon these practices; especially considering the wonderful influence which the Puritanic lecturers had upon the common people.
This year our bishop had a conference with Fisher the
Church History, b. x. p. 108.