Caroline Divines

Last updated

Charles II was restored as King of England in 1660. Charles II of England.jpeg
Charles II was restored as King of England in 1660.

The Caroline Divines were influential theologians and writers in the Church of England who lived during the reigns of King Charles I and, after the Restoration, King Charles II (Latin: Carolus). There is no official list of Caroline-era divines; they are defined by the era in which they lived, and Caroline Divines hailed from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. [1] However, of these four nations, it is Caroline England which is most commonly considered to have fostered a golden age of Anglican scholarship and devotional writing, despite the socio-cultural upset of civil war, regicide, and military rule under Oliver Cromwell. Importantly, the term divine is restricted neither to canonised saints nor to Anglican figures, but is used of many writers and thinkers in the wider Christian church.

Contents

Theology and outlook

William Laud William Laud.jpg
William Laud

The corpus produced by the Caroline divines is diverse. What they have in common is a commitment to the faith as conveyed by Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer, thus regarding prayer and theology in a manner akin to that of the Apostolic Fathers and other later Christian writers. [2] On the whole, the Caroline Divines view the via media of Anglicanism not as a compromise but "a positive position, witnessing to the universality of God and God's kingdom working through the fallible, earthly ecclesia Anglicana." [3] These theologians regarded Scripture as authoritative in matters concerning salvation, although they drew upon tradition and reason as well, the latter in the form of deductive logic and the former with special reference to the Church Fathers. Politically, the Caroline Divines were royalists but primarily of a constitutional, rather than absolutist, bent.

Their promotion of more elaborate ceremonial and their valuation of visual beauty in art and church architecture was variously labelled as "popish", "Romish", or “Arminian” by their Puritan opponents. Such embellishments, however, were not only integral to their spirituality, but were seen by the Carolines as combatting the appeal of Roman Catholicism. And, contrary to Puritan accusation, the emphasis upon beauty had nothing to do with "Arminian" influence. [4] Rather than face a choice between an austere Puritanism or an elaborate Roman ceremonial, the Caroline divines presented their countrymen with a via media in which they could remain within the established church and also participate in ancient forms of religion. [5]

Prominent exponents

Within the Anglican tradition, there have been certain theological writers whose works have been considered standards for faith, doctrine, worship, and spirituality. These are often commemorated in lesser feasts of the Church, and their works are frequently anthologised. [6] Among the Caroline divines of the seventeenth century, the following are prominent.

King Charles the Martyr

King Charles I (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) encouraged liturgical renewal and the publication of devotional writings during his reign. The most popular devotional work in seventeenth-century England was the king's own autobiographical Eikon Basilike (The Royal Image), which was translated into numerous European languages. [7] He defended popular recreational activities through his re-publication of the Book of Sports in 1633, which was originally promulgated by his father, King James VI, in 1617. Charles I also stood against the advance of extreme predestinarian theology in the Church of England, principally through his Declaration on the Articles of Religion (1628). When the Book of Common Prayer was revised in 1662, this declaration was permanently affixed as the preface to the Articles of Religion. [8] Like both his predecessors and successors, Charles I was said to have the Royal touch, which he practiced during his lifetime, and miracle stories were attributed to the king's relics after his death. [9] Charles I was canonised by the Church of England as King Charles the Martyr, the first Anglican saint, and placed as such in the 1662 Calendar of Saints. However 30 January, the date of his martyrdom, was not denoted as a feast, but as a fast intended for annual reflection and repentance.

Lancelot Andrewes

Lancelot Andrewes (1555 – 25 September 1626) was an English priest and scholar, who held high positions in the Church of England during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. He was the spiritual father of Charles I. [10] During the reign of King James I, Andrewes served as Bishop of Chichester and oversaw the translation of the Authorized Version (or King James Version) of the Bible. In the Church of England he is commemorated on 25 September with a Lesser Festival. His most popular work has proven to be his Preces Privatae or Private Prayers, which was published posthumously and has remained in print since renewed interest in Andrewes developed in the 19th century. His Ninety-Six Sermons have been occasionally reprinted and are considered among the most rhetorically developed and polished sermons of the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. Because of these, Andrewes has been commemorated by literary greats such as T. S. Eliot.

John Cosin

John Cosin (30 November 1594 – 15 January 1672) was an English priest, bishop and theologian. Cosin was elected Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1634, succeeding Matthew Wren, and decorated the chapel there according to High Church principles. [11] Among his writings (most of which were published posthumously) are a Historia Transubstantiationis Papalis (1675), Notes and Collections on the Book of Common Prayer (1710) and A Scholastical History of the Canon of Holy Scripture (1657). A collected edition of his works, forming 5 vols of the Oxford-based Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology , was published between 1843 and 1855; and his Correspondence (2 vols) was edited by George Ornsby for the Surtees Society (1868–1870). Cosin's most important work was his Collection of Private Devotions which was published in 1627 at the behest of King Charles I. It made use of patristic sources, Elizabethan devotional material, and Cosin's own compositions. This was the first work of royally-authorised devotional writing since the reign of Elizabeth I and was immensely popular in the seventeenth century. Cosin was exiled in Paris during the Commonwealth, but was made Bishop of Durham at the Restoration in 1660, a post he held until his death. [12]

Thomas Ken

Thomas Ken (July 1637 – 19 March 1711), English priest, was the most eminent of the English non-juring bishops, and one of the fathers of modern English hymnology. His Three Hymns (1700) contains the original version of the hymn 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow', which continues to be sung during offertories around the world, especially in Anglican churches. [13] Ken later left the Church of England during the Nonjuring schism, which developed in response to the invasion of England by the Dutch prince William III. However, as a Nonjuror, Ken remained deeply tied to the Anglican tradition. Nonjurors did not abandon Anglicanism but instead maintained allegiance to the exiled king James II of England. The political counterpart to the Nonjuror schism was Jacobitism. Both ended in the latter half of the eighteenth century with the death of Charles Edward Stuart, the last Stuart claimant to the throne. Nonjuror liturgical, theological, and devotional writing proved to have a considerable impact upon the Anglican tradition, in part due to the influence of the nineteenth-century Oxford Movement.

William Laud

Archbishop William Laud (7 October 1573 – 10 January 1645) was Archbishop of Canterbury and a fervent supporter of King Charles I of England. Laud was a sincere Anglican and loyal Englishman, who must have been frustrated at the charges of Popery levelled against him by the Puritan element in the Church. Laud's aggressive high church policy was seen by many as a sinister development. He was blamed for the introduction of the 1637 Book of Common Prayer into Scotland, although a similar policy had originated with King James I. Laud's Conference with Fisher the Jesuite is a classic work of Anglican apologetics and has been called 'one of the last great works of scholastic divinity.' [14] Like Andrewes, Laud's Private Devotions were printed posthumously, although they have never been as popular as those by Andrewes.

His views towards the Presbyterians extended to Scotland, where it led to the Covenanter movement and the Bishops' Wars. The Long Parliament of 1640 accused him of treason, resulting in his imprisonment in the Tower of London. In the spring of 1644, he was brought to trial, which ended without being able to reach a verdict. Parliament took up the issue, and eventually he was beheaded on 10 January 1645 on Tower Hill, notwithstanding being granted a royal pardon.

Thomas Sprat

Thomas Sprat (1635 – 20 May 1713), was an English priest. Having taken orders he became a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral in 1660. In the preceding year he had gained a reputation by his poem To the Happie Memory of the most Renowned Prince Oliver, Lord Protector (London, 1659), and he was afterwards well known as a wit, preacher, and man of letters.

His chief prose works are the Observations upon Monsieur de Sorbier's Voyage into England (London, 1665), a satirical reply to the strictures on Englishmen in Samuel de Sorbière's book of that name, and a History of the Royal Society of London (London, 1667), which Sprat had helped to found. The History of the Royal Society elaborates the scientific purposes of the academy and outlines some of the strictures of scientific writing that set the modern standards for clarity and conciseness. The work also contains theological defences of scientific study.

Jeremy Taylor

Jeremy Taylor (1613 – 13 August 1667) was a priest in the Church of England who achieved fame as an author during The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. He is sometimes known as the "Shakespeare of Divines" for his poetic style of writing.

Taylor was educated at The Perse School, Cambridge before going onto Gonville and Caius College, at Cambridge, where he graduated in 1626. He was under the patronage of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. He went on to become chaplain in ordinary to King Charles I as a result of Laud's sponsorship. This made him politically suspect when Laud was tried for treason and executed in 1645 by the Puritan Parliament during the English Civil War. After the Parliamentary victory over the King, he was briefly imprisoned several times.

Eventually, he was allowed to retire to Wales, where he became the private chaplain of the Earl of Carbery. Upon the Restoration, his political star was on the rise, and he was made Bishop of Down and Connor in Ireland. He was also made vice-chancellor of the University of Dublin.

Herbert Thorndike

Herbert Thorndike (1598–1672) was Canon of Westminster Abbey. He was also an influential theologian and writer in the Anglican Church who was well respected during the reigns of King Charles I and, after the Restoration, King Charles II. His work had little influence, however, and it was not until the Oxford Movement of the 19th century that he came to be widely read again. [15]

George Herbert

George Herbert (1593–1633) was a Welsh-born priest who served at the rural parish of Fugglestone St Peter near Salisbury, but is primarily known as a skilled orator and poet. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge in 1609 with the intention of becoming a priest, but instead he became the University's Public Orator and attracted the attention of King James I. He served in the Parliament of England in 1624 and briefly in 1625. After the death of King James, Herbert renewed his interest in ordination. He gave up his secular ambitions in his mid-thirties and took holy orders in the Church of England, spending the rest of his life as rector at Fugglestone St Peter. He died at age 39 of consumption in 1633 during the reign of Charles.

Although he is generally considered a poet rather than a divine, he was a devoted priest and his thought is palpably in line with that of the Caroline divines. His poetry was championed by the later Oxford Movement and notably influenced the piety of the movement through his influence on figures like John Keble. [16]

Related Research Articles

Anglicanism Practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. It is one of the largest branches of Christianity, with around 110 million adherents worldwide as of 2001.

Lancelot Andrewes English bishop and scholar

Lancelot Andrewes was an English bishop and scholar, who held high positions in the Church of England during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. During the latter's reign, Andrewes served successively as Bishop of Chichester, of Ely, and of Winchester and oversaw the translation of the King James Version of the Bible. In the Church of England he is commemorated on 25 September with a lesser festival.

Anglo-Catholicism Anglicanism that emphasises its Catholic heritage

Anglo-Catholicism comprises beliefs and practices that emphasise the Catholic heritage and identity of the various Anglican churches.

History of the Church of England Surveys Church of England history from 597 to 21st century

The Church of England traces its history back to 597. That year, a group of missionaries sent by the pope and led by Augustine of Canterbury began the Christianisation of the Anglo-Saxons. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Throughout the Middle Ages, the English Church was a part of the Catholic Church led by the pope in Rome. Over the years, the church won many legal privileges and amassed vast wealth and property. This was often a point of contention between Kings of England and the church.

John Cosin English churchman

John Cosin was an English churchman.

Elizabethan Religious Settlement Part of Englands switch to Protestantism

The Elizabethan Religious Settlement is the name given to the religious and political arrangements made for England during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603). Implemented between 1559 and 1563, the settlement is considered the end of the English Reformation, permanently shaping the theology and liturgy of the Church of England and laying the foundations of Anglicanism's unique identity.

Samuel Harsnett

Samuel Harsnett, born Samuel Halsnoth, was an English writer on religion and Archbishop of York from 1629.

High church Christian denominations which emphasize ritual and form

The term high church refers to beliefs and practices of Christian ecclesiology, liturgy, and theology that emphasize formality and resistance to modernisation. Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term originated in and has been principally associated with the Anglican tradition, where it describes churches using a number of ritual practices associated in the popular mind with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. The opposite tradition is low church. Contemporary media discussing Anglican churches erroneously prefer the terms evangelical to low church and Anglo-Catholic to high church, even though their meanings do not exactly correspond. Other contemporary denominations that contain high church wings include some Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches.

Francis Rous 17th-century English politician

Francis Rous or Rouse, was an English politician and Puritan religious author, who was Provost of Eton from 1644 to 1659, and briefly Speaker of the House of Commons in 1653.

In 17th century England, Thorough was a name given by Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford to a scheme of his to establish absolute monarchy in England. Although "Thorough" is largely attributed to Strafford, its implementation can also be accredited to the Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud.

Richard Montagu was an English cleric and prelate.

John Overall (bishop)

John Overall (1559–1619) was the 38th bishop of the see of Norwich from 1618 until his death one year later. He had previously served as Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, as Dean of St Paul's Cathedral from 1601, as Master of Catharine Hall from 1598, and as Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University from 1596. He also served on the Court of High Commission and as a Translator of the King James Version of the Bible.

Anglican doctrine Christian teachings of Anglican churches

Anglican doctrine is the body of Christian teachings used to guide the religious and moral practices of Anglicans.

Hamon L'Estrange was an English writer on history, theology and liturgy, of Calvinist views, loyal both to Charles I and the Church of England. Along with Edward Stephens, he contributed to the seventeenth-century revival of interest in ancient liturgies; with John Cosin and Anthony Sparrow he began the genre of commentary on the Book of Common Prayer. He has been confused at times with his father, son and grandson of the same name.

Richard Hooker English bishop and Anglican Divine

Richard Hooker was an English priest in the Church of England and an influential theologian. He was one of the most important English theologians of the sixteenth century. His defence of the role of redeemed reason informed the theology of the seventeenth century Caroline Divines and later provided many members of the Church of England with a theological method which combined the claims of revelation, reason and tradition.

Peter Toon Anglican theologian

Peter Toon was a priest and theologian and an international advocate of traditional Anglicanism.

History of the Puritans under King James I

The reign of King James I of England (1603-25) saw the continued rise of the Puritan movement in England, that began during reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603), and the continued clash with the authorities of the Church of England. This eventually led to the further alienation of Anglicans and Puritans from one another in the 17th century during the reign of King Charles I (1625-49), that eventually brought about the English Civil War (1642-51), the brief rule of the Puritan Lord Protector of England Oliver Cromwell (1653-58), the English Commonwealth (1649-60), and as a result the political, religious, and civil liberty that is celebrated today in all English speaking countries.

Arminianism in the Church of England

Arminianism was a controversial theological position within the Church of England particularly evident in the second quarter of the 17th century. A key element was the rejection of predestination. The Puritans fought against Arminianism, and King James I of England opposed it before, during, and after the Synod of Dort, 1618-19, where the English delegates participated in formulating the Calvinist Canons of Dort, but his son Charles I, favored it, leading to deep political battles. The Methodists, who espoused a variant of the school of thought called Wesleyan–Arminian theology, branched off of the Church of England in the 17th century.

William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury (1573–1645)

William Laud was a bishop in the Church of England. Appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Charles I in 1633, Laud was a key advocate of Charles I's religious reforms, he was arrested by Parliament in 1640 and executed towards the end of the First English Civil War in January 1645.

<i>Book of Common Prayer</i> (1662) Anglican liturgical book

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer is an authorised liturgical book of the Church of England and other Anglican bodies around the world. In continuous print and regular use for over 360 years, the 1662 prayer book is the basis for numerous other editions of the Book of Common Prayer and other liturgical texts. Noted for both its devotional and literary quality, the 1662 prayer book has influenced the English language, with its devotional use alongside the King James Version of the Bible contributing to an increase in literacy from the 16th to the 20th century.

References

  1. Guyer, Benjamin (2012). The Beauty of Holiness: The Caroline Divines and Their Writings. Norwich (UK): Canterbury Press. pp. 11–14, 26.
  2. Booty, John. "Standard Divines". The Study of Anglicanism. p. 163.
  3. Booty, John. "Standard Divines". The Study of Anglicanism. p. 164.
  4. Guyer, Benjamin. The Beauty of Holiness: The Caroline Divines and Their Writings. pp. 7–11, 22–23.
  5. K. A. Newman, "Holiness in Beauty?: Roman Catholics, Arminians, and the Aesthetics of Religion in Early Caroline England". in D. Wood (ed.) The Church and the Arts. (Oxford, 1992), pp. 303–312
  6. Booty, John. "Standard Divines". The Study of Anglicanism. pp. 163 ff.
  7. Lacey, Andrew. The Cult of King Charles the Martyr. p. 81.
  8. O’Donovan, Oliver (1 January 2014). "Thirty-Nine Articles Revived". The Living Church. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  9. Guyer, Benjamin. The Beauty of Holiness: The Caroline Divines and Their Writings. pp. 58–59, 70–73.
  10. Cust, Richard. Charles I: A Political Life. p. 15.
  11. Cross, F. L.; Livingstone, E. A. (eds.) (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (4th ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   9780192802903 p. 424.
  12. "John Cosin". Encyclopedia Britannica. January 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  13. Guyer, Benjamin. The Beauty of Holiness: The Caroline Divines and Their Writings. pp. 147–152.
  14. Davies, Julian. The Caroline Captivity of the Church. p. 58.
  15. "Anglican Eucharistic theology welcome N philosophy pages about me publications LINKS News ". web.mac.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  16. Chadwick, Owen (1990). The Spirit of the Oxford Movement. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 8–9, 53.