The first portion of Chapter 6 outlines a complex web of interpersonal-cum-religious-cum-financial disputes that rose to a head in 1634 during an episcopal visitation of Bernard’s parish. Then, the chapter addresses Bernard’s manual on giving, Ready Way to Good Works, published just a few months later. Though Ready Way made no explicit mention of the local controversy, this context clearly influenced the work. The chapter identifies several passages that gesture subtly – but meaningfully for those in the know – to Bernard’s local situation; it also highlights several additional passages that explained parts of Bernard’s personal and financial history. Both of these, in different ways, can be read as a sort of life writing which not only intended to provide readers with a positive view of Bernard himself, but also functioned symbiotically with the publication’s overarching aim of encouraging charity. As we will see, this has important relevance for the ways we conceive of authors’ self-presentation before different sorts of audiences.
Through an examination of the editions of Bernard’s popular clerical manual, Chapter 3 provides new insight into the early modern debate about the nature and uses of religious print. It also helps frame the question of what distinguished a pastor-author, actively pursuing ministry through print and thinking about how readers would respond to different types of material, from the larger number of ministers who had a sermon printed here or there, but did not actively engage with print as part of their pastoral vocation. The chapter begins with an analysis of Bernard’s clerical manual, The Faithfull Shepheard, and explores shifts in his approach over three editions (1607, 1609, and 1621), with later editions suggesting Bernard’s increasing awareness of, and willingness to accommodate, his readers’ needs for explanation and demonstration of the principles he espoused. The second portion of the chapter addresses Bernard’s approach to printed sermons. By examining several publications that Bernard based upon sermons, we see that he maintained the common contemporary understanding that the Word preached orally had special spiritual use and power that could not be replicated in print. Yet rather than driving him away from publishing sermon materials, this led him to consider how sermon material might be presented differently in print, to achieve other, distinct, purposes. Altogether, this chapter allows us to more fully understand the place of printed sermons – and print more generally – within godly pastoral contexts.
Explication and implication in anti-Catholic publications
Amy G. Tan
While Bernard held a position fundamentally opposed to Catholicism throughout his career, his works took a distinctly anti-Catholic focus during only one relatively brief period, c. 1617–29, with a shift c. 1622 in the tone and content of these publications. Chapter 5 first analyses what we know of Bernard’s foundational beliefs about the danger of Catholicism, and then proceeds to contextualise and historicise this amplification, shift, and de-amplification in his published rhetoric about Catholics. It identifies several factors in Bernard’s parish and diocesan contexts, as well as national and international developments, that influenced this trajectory. In particular, it highlights an uptick in his eschatologically centred anti-Catholic writing under Bishop Lake; his shift to a rather less heady eschatological view from c. 1622; and how his 1626 Rhemes Against Rome was intended not only as an anti-Catholic response to John Heigham’s attack on Protestantism, but also as a puritan counterpoint to Richard Montagu’s anti-Calvinist response to Heigham. Subsequently, it discusses several factors related to a growing de-emphasis of overt anti-Catholic rhetoric – until, that is, a 1641 publication directed to Parliament. In all this, the chapter demonstrates ways that different publications – and sometimes, the same publication – could target different audiences with different sorts of messages that nevertheless complemented one another, in view of various theological aims and ecclesio-political contexts.
Catechisms and the question of the fundamentals of the faith
Amy G. Tan
Early modern English catechisms have seen some attention from scholars, notably Ian Green; Chapter 4 builds upon, and suggests certain revisions to, Green’s conclusions. Where he sees catechetical materials as largely void of controversial content and high-level theological issues, this study suggests the opposite. From 1607–29, Bernard developed and refined a two-part catechetical method that closely aligned with what we know of his theoretical and practical goals for catechesis. Analysis of this content suggests that Bernard was willing to accept the Prayer Book catechism only when certain theological caveats were added to clarify its teachings. In 1630, however, Bernard produced an entirely new catechism, substantially different from his earlier method: and also published Good Christian Looke to thy Creede, a work largely catechetical in format and content, but which he did not title a catechism. I argue that we can explain this shift within Bernard’s ecclesiastical context, as Bishop Curll took the see of Bath and Wells and began enforcing restrictions on catechetical practice to a greater degree than his predecessors had. This suggests that the timing and the content of Bernard’s catechetical publications were influenced both by his own convictions and by pressures imposed upon him from above, with his publications in the later period demonstrating an impetus toward creative negotiation in which he actively advertised his conformity before ecclesiastical superiors and any reading audiences, yet sought innovative ways to continue providing users (including, but not limited to, his own parishioners) with catechetical materials consonant with his longstanding approach.
The Introduction begins by providing a view of the historiographical contexts of the study and discusses prior scholarly work pointing to clerical authorship as an area ready for further examination. It then presents the paradigm of the ‘pastor-author’ as a category which provides the basis for the present study and introduces the book’s employment of a case-study methodology as a way to deeply analyse the interrelationship of clerical and authorial activities. Further, it addresses the book’s focus upon moderate puritan pastor-authors by explaining that while authorship could fit well with the religious goals and the circumstances of puritan pastors, no unique connection is suggested between puritanism and pastor-authorship; rather, this connection is a matter of framing, providing coherence to the present study. After outlining the book’s subsequent chapters, the Introduction concludes with an orientation to the life and career of Richard Bernard, whose pastoral-authorial work forms the basis of the book’s central case study.
Chapter 2 demonstrates several ways that Bernard’s early-career experiences shaped his long-term relationship with the national church as well as his approach to print authorship. It highlights how returning to conformity actually strengthened Bernard’s commitment (when pressed) to abiding under the strictures of ecclesiastical superiors – something that would later influence his innovative approaches to publishing on controversial topics. More generally, it shows how his early engagement in his personal ministry and in print mutually enabled and influenced one another in the service of complementary goals both before and after his period of nonconformity. As later chapters will show, the approaches to authorship and pastoral ministry that coalesced during this formative period would reverberate through Bernard’s work for decades to come.
While Bernard’s career and corpus make him an excellent case through which to examine pastoral-authorial work in detail, the point of this study is to highlight a phenomenon far larger than Bernard himself. To underscore this, and to offer further examples of how pastoral-authorial work could function, Chapter 10 features three brief studies, each attending to one aspect of the career of a different pastor-author whose career has already received some scholarly attention. In these I connect George Gifford’s 1587 treatise on devils to an effort toward reinstatement to ministry in the national church; explicate Thomas Wilson’s use of prefatory apologia in connection to concerns of genre and audience; and demonstrate how Samuel Hieron’s Popish Ryme simultaneously engaged poetry and prose in order to provide both rhetorical and theological ammunition against Catholics. These brief studies show the potential for many studies to usefully embrace the paradigm of the pastor-author, demonstrating ways it can be fruitfully applied to shorter, relatively discrete analyses, as well as lengthier case studies, and speak to studies in multiple disciplines.
This study analyses the career choices and religious contexts of early modern pastors who chose to become print authors, addressing ways that the ability to publish could enhance, limit, or change pastoral ministry. It demonstrates ways ministers strategically tailored content and genre to achieve certain religious goals among both clerical and lay audiences, and considers ways in which authorship was interconnected with parish work as well as one’s position within the national church. The book features an extended case study of Richard Bernard, a particularly prolific pastor-author whose career provides a coherent framework through which to analyse key features of early modern pastoral-authorial work. It further gives attention to George Gifford, Thomas Wilson, and Samuel Hieron, each of whose career circumstances and authorial choices broaden our view of different ways clerics might incorporate print as an intentional part of their religious vocation. As the first book-length analysis of the phenomenon of early modern pastors writing for print, this study provides a paradigm for understanding these clerics’ efforts in print and parish as an integral part of their careers and their overarching religious goals. By addressing pastoral-authorial work across the span of a career, and by considering how pastor-authors engaged a wide range of topics and genres, the study engages with multiple areas of current scholarly interest: censorship, private religious devotion, polemic, witchcraft, religious education, reference works, and more. The study provides a remarkably comprehensive picture of pastoral publishing and offers a new lens through which to view the intersection of emerging print technologies and religious work in this pivotal period.
Chapter 8 first clarifies Bernard’s position in parish, regional, and national controversies regarding the Sabbath and the communion table which came to a head in the 1630s. I show that Bernard’s approach, both in his own parish and within the regional puritan network, was to do as much as possible to maintain his longstanding puritan theological-pastoral programme: yet when pressed he would remain (at least minimally) conformable to the national church. During this time, he was composing Threefold Treatise of the Sabbath, a text for which he probably sought license in the 1630s but which would not appear until 1641 with the breakdown of Laudian licensing. I show how the finally published version of the work performed significant theological and rhetorical gymnastics to construct a view of Sabbath observance that conformed to the national church and yet fit within a puritan vision for godly observance. Then, I turn to demonstrate that Bernard made similar theological and rhetorical moves in another work, also published in 1641, addressing the fraught issue of Christ’s descent into Hell. In both publications, I suggest, Bernard’s creative presentations of content echoed his concurrent parish efforts to find an elusive harmony between his own theological and religious goals, on the one hand, and his commitment to the national church, on the other.
Innovating in the reference genre (and turning against episcopacy?)
Amy G. Tan
Chapter 9 turns to Thesaurus Biblicus, a tripartite Bible reference work Bernard composed during the 1630s and which was rejected by a Laudian licenser on the grounds that it might enable laypeople to act as preachers. I show that each of Thesaurus’s sections took a different approach toward equipping users – including lay users – to interpret the Bible. Using the genre of a reference work from which users could draw their own conclusions, Bernard avoided explicitly supporting certain controversial positions, yet nevertheless provided audiences with information intended (not exclusively, but clearly) to equip a sort of theologically reformed, puritanically inflected, lay household preaching. Although radical in some senses, this was, in fact, within the realm of current practice for some godly households: and it suggested a potential way forward for godly religion in a period when certain doctrines and styles of ministry were out of favour with ecclesiastical leadership. The chapter concludes by returning to the question of conformity, showing that there is a reasonable case to be made that Bernard authored an anonymous 1641 anti-episcopal pamphlet – especially curious as this would seem to run counter to his longstanding commitment to operating within the national church. I suggest that, if he was the author, we can understand this shift as fitting within a different sort of conformity: one conforming to certain Parliamentary initiatives.