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over-estimated. Down and Antrim now experienced the blessing of a great spiritual awakening: all ranks felt the holy influence : and not a few exhibited the clearest evidences of genuine conversion : but just at the time when the Gospel was so wonderfully revealing its quickening and transforming energy, its light was put out by an episcopal extinguisher. The ministers, now deposed, preached the doctrines recognized by law, and embodied in the Confession so recently adopted: it was plain, from their fruits, that these doctrines were the power of God and the wisdom of God unto salvation : even Popery quailed before them, for the most accomplished Jesuit could not grapple with their iron logic and their triumphant appeals to Scripture testimony: but they must be discountenanced and suppressed, because they were offensive to an arbitrary king and a corrupt hierarchy. Thus were the fairest hopes of the Church in Ireland nipped in the bud; and a living Christianity was sacrificed to the idol of uniformity.
In January 1632 Lord Wentworth was appointed Viceroy of Ireland He was, however, detained long in England ; and he did not reach Dublin till July 1633. The career of this able but unfortunate statesman is well known to all readers of English history; and Ireland was the theatre where he performed not a few of his most daring acts of tyranny and oppression. Adopting the policy of Laud, he resolved to assimilate the Church of this country to the Church of England; and he was not very scrupulous as to the means he employed when carrying out his determination. He brought with him to Ireland, in the capacity of chaplain, the famous Dr. Bramhall, a divine who had already distinguished himself in the department of polemic theology. Bramhall was a great stickler for rites and ceremonies : he had an intense antipathy to Calvinism ; and he believed that religion could be best propagated, not so much by the preach
1 In this year an organ was, for the first time, introduced into Cork Cathedral. Richard Boyle was then bishop of the diocese. See Brady's Records of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, iii. 53. VOL. II.
ing of the word, as by discipline enforced by State authority." As he enjoyed a high reputation for learning, and as he possessed much energy of character, Wentworth expected that he would be able, to a great extent, to counteract the influence of Ussher—who had no sympathy with either Arminianism or Ritualism. Immediately after his arrival in Ireland he was appointed on a Royal Commission authorized to examine the state of the Episcopal Establishment, and to report the result of its inquiries to Government. The abuses brought to light by the Commissioners abundantly proved that the Church liad been little better than a den of thieves. “The bishoprics were wretchedly dilapidated by fee-farm grants and long leases at small rents, granted partly by the Popish bishops in Queen Elizabeth's reign, who resolved to carry away with them as much as they could,
and partly by their Protestant successors, who might fear, perhaps, another turn of affairs; and, following the example of their predecessors, condescended to the same arts. By these means, many bishoprics were made as low as sacrilege could make them. Cloyne was reduced to five marks, .. Aghadoe and Ardfert, in the county of Kerry, were reduced respectively, the latter to about 6ol. a year, and the former to il. is. 8d. Of Limerick, about five parts in six were made away in fee-farms or encroached on by the undertakers. Cashel, Emly, Waterford, Lismore, and Killaloe, all make the same complaint. Cork and Ross fared the best of any. .. But, with this exception, there was not one bishopric in the province of Cashel that had not the print of the sacrilegious paw upon it.
Simony also was another evil which was found to prevail very generally with the patrons of ecclesiastical benefices.” 4
1 Vesey, in his Life of Bramhall, thus describes the policy of Wentworth :“He knew all men are not to be preached and disputed, but to be governed into virtue and piety, peace and unity.” See Mant, i. 470. Such appears to have been also the opinion of Bramhall.
2 Mant here unwittingly admits the total inaccuracy of his previous statement, that only two bishops resused to conform to Protestantism in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth. See before, vol. i., p. 379, note (2).
3 A mark was value for 135. 44. See Ware's Antiquities, ch. xxv. * Mant, i. 445, 446,
The Royal Commissioners were certainly not disposed to exaggerate the scandals which they found in existence; and yet, had we not their own explicit testimony, we might have hesitated to believe that any Protestant Church, so soon after the Reformation, could have been in such a condition of degeneracy. “It is hard to say,” observes Bramhall, “whether the churches be more ruinous and sordid, or the people irreverent. Even in Dublin, the metropolis of this kingdom and seat of justice ... we find one parochial church converted to the Lord Deputy's stable; a second, to a nobleman's dwelling-house ; the choir of a third to a tennis court, and the vicar acts the keeper. ... The inferior sort of ministers are below all degrees of contempt in respect of their poverty and ignorance. The boundless heaping together of benefices, by commendams and dispensations in the superiors, is but too apparent. One bishop in the remoter parts of the kingdom doth hold three and twenty benefices with cure. ... Seldom any suitor petitions for less than three vicarages at a time." Bramhall adds: “It is some comfort to see the Romish ecclesiastics cannot laugh at us, who come behind none in disunion and scandal.” 1
At this period Protestantism had made very little progress even among the gentry of the Pale. A large number of the better educated classes in Dublin-many of the lawyers included-refused to conform ; and, in rural districts, alınost all persons in the rank of gentlemen were still Roman Catholics. About the time of Wentworth's appointment as Lord Deputy they were menaced with the exaction of the fines incurred by absence from the services of the Establishment. The threat was held out only to remind them of the insecurity of their position-as the Viceroy had no present intention of irritating the recusants. But he was resolved to reconstruct the Church; and, above all, to purge it of the leaven of Puritanism. As he was a man of great ability and penetration, he saw that he must not overlook the higher education of the kingdom; and he was not long in Dublin until his attention was turned to the condition of the University. The college was the training school for the ministry of the Establishment ; and yet, ever since it had been opened, some of its most prominent office-bearers had been noted for their hostility to the episcopal polity. Its charter contained no provision for the exclusion of nonconformists; it conferred on the Fellows the power of self-government: and some of them had occasionally acted in a way exceedingly offensive to High Churchmen. Whilst the Irish Confession of Faith was a clear exposition of the theology of Puritanism, it condemned, with very little ceremony, a number of the leading principles by which Laud and his party now began to be distinguished. Some of the Fellows appear to have adhered more firmly than others to its Calvinistic teaching : divisions had arisen ; a spirit of faction had of late found its way into the seminary; and, from various causes, laxity had prevailed in the administration of academic discipline. Wentworth was determined to permit this license no longer. As preliminary to further changes, Laud, now Archbishop of Canterbury, was appointed Chancellor. Dr. Robert Ussher, a Calvinist, but a man of very passive character, was induced to resign his post as Provost; and William Chappell, an Arminian,' was selected as his successor. The existing statutes were revised by the new Chancellor : 2 the Fellows were obliged to accept a charter in which their privileges were greatly abridged ; and none but those who would exactly conform to the Book of Common Prayer were henceforth to be admitted to places of dignity and profit in the University.
1 Letter from Bramhall to Laud, dated Dublin Castle, August 10th, 1633, quoted by Mant, i. 448, 450, 452.
: See Brady's English State Church in Ireland, pp. 13, 14, 16. London, 1869. 3 Leland, iii. 9.
In 1634 Wentworth convened a Parliament; and made arrangements, at the same time, for the meeting of a Convo
1 The change does not seem to have promoted the interests of literature. The new Provost suppressed the teaching of both Irish and Hebrew in the University. Taylor's History of the University of Dublin, pp. 234, 235.
2 Laud was made Archbishop of Canterbury in September 1633.
3 According to the original College Charter, the Fellows had the right of electing the Provost. According to the new charter that right was reserved to the Crown. The original charter gave the Provost and Fellows the power of making laws for the government of the College. By the new charter the King reserved that power to himself. See Taylor's History of the University of Dublin, pp. 23, 24.
cation of the clergy. Bramhall had just now been appointed Bishop of Derry ;1 and his influence was at once felt among the spiritual peers. The prelates, in a petition to the King,? gave a most melancholy account of the condition of the parish ministers. "In the whole Christian world," says this
“ memorial, “the rural clergy have not been reduced to such extreme contempt and beggary as in this kingdoin, by means of the frequent appropriations, commendams, and violent intrusions into their undoubted rights in times of confusionhaving their churches ruined, their habitations left desolate, their tithes detained, their glebes concealed, and, by inevitable consequence, an invincible necessity of a general non-residence · imposed upon them—whereby the ordinary subjects have been left wholly destitute of all possible means to learn true piety to God, loyalty to their prince, civility towards one another, and whereby former wars and insurrections have been occasionally both procreated and maintained.”
Measures were now in contemplation calculated to provide a better pastoral support; and this petition was intended to prepare the way for these arrangements. The impoverishment of the Church was, no doubt, to a large extent, the work of its own spiritual guardians ; but many of the delinquents had contrived to screen themselves and their heirs from punishment; and the evil could not now be remedied by denouncing their dishonesty or covetousness. Wentworth addressed himself in right earnest to the task of improving the temporalities. Bramhall aided most efficiently ; and in a short time, by their united efforts, they succeeded in recovering much misappropriated property, in adding to the maintenance of the parochial clergy, and in augmenting the episcopal revenues.3
Bramhall was appointed to Derry in May 1634, as successor to George Down. ham, a decided Calvinist and a zealous Protestant. The Convocation met in November 1634.
* This petition may be found in Elrington's Life of Ussher, pp. 169, 170.
3 Mant, i. 507-510. According to his biographer Vesey, Bramhall "regained to the Church in the compass of four years £30,000—some say £40,000-per annum.”—Ibid. Hitherto the bishops had been in the habit of making fee-farm grants. They were now restrained by Act of Parliament (10th and 11th of