The campaign to convince Parliament to ratify an independent jurisdiction for parish discipline ended in a compromise that ultimately heralded the defeat of high presbyterian ambitions for a national church settlement. The London presbyterians had established a sophisticated activist network in the city and beyond. However, they realised that they would need greater influence in national political processes to further their objectives in the religious sphere. This pushed the London presbyterians to follow their
Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic Chapter 6 Presbyterian ecclesiologies at the Westminster assembly Chad Van Dixhoorn ECCLESIASTICAL CONTEXTS T he Westminster assembly was in many ways the high point of the puritan experiment. The special morning service on 1 July 1643 saw the nave of Westminster Abbey thronged with supporters of a godly reformation. Long prayed-for alterations in worship, clarifications in doctrine and renovations in church government were finally within reach. While continuing reformation was to proceed on all three fronts
Scots, together with the ‘Scotified’ pro-presbyterian interest in the city, into the arms of the faction that had coalesced around the Earl of Essex. Essex’s ‘party’ was an alliance composed of those personally loyal to the Earl, the old ‘peace party’ of 1643 and formerly hawkish parliamentarians, such as the Earl of Manchester or Sir William Waller, who had become concerned by the latitude given to extremist elements within the parliamentarian camp. Despite Essex’s initial animosity towards the Scots, his group had
The events of 1644 would finally shatter the fragile godly alliance that had emerged at Aldermanbury in 1641. In January 1644, the publication of the congregationalists’ Apologeticall narration made public debate on church government unavoidable. This debate ran alongside the majority in the Westminster assembly coalescing around a presbyterian position that stressed the independence of the church and the central role of collective presbyteries in ecclesiastical government. Working against the realisation of
The two years following the Aldermanbury Accord of 1641 saw the emergence of a London presbyterian movement that would endure throughout the 1640s and 1650s. Intellectually, the London presbyterians would develop and expound ideas of limited monarchy and a ‘co-ordinate’ mixed constitution, Old Testament notions of national covenanting and sixteenth-century presbyterian two-kingdoms theory. As well as developing their ideological position, 1643 saw the London presbyterian clergy begin to build their key
From June 1646 the London presbyterians devoted considerable collective energy to constructing and maintaining a working presbyterian church polity. Although frustrated by difficulties from the outset, the longing aspiration of the presbyterian ministers was to win hearts and minds to the new discipline. These attempts were hampered by the growing political divisions within parliamentarianism, the novelty of presbyterian polity and the historical weaknesses of what remained of London’s ecclesiastical
’. Their wealth and blood had been ventured to ensure the reformation of religion and the liberties of the subject against the predations of a misguided monarch. 2 Despite new wars and the rise of a radical parliamentarian counternarrative, this presbyterian vision of Parliament’s aims was almost attained in the period from September 1647 to the revolution of early 1649. This chapter will analyse how the London presbyterian ministers, nudged by their Scottish counterparts, rebuilt the religious presbyterian cause in London and, indeed
The regicide and the Commonwealth regime that succeed Charles I’s monarchy created a new political reality for presbyterians in London, as elsewhere. The cause of the Covenant and the confessional unity of the three kingdoms had been the London presbyterians’ principal justification for engaging against the king. With the Essex-Holles faction largely purged from political life, the Scots clear enemies of the new English regime and religious presbyterianism passed over in favour of Independency, the London
This article examines Presbyterian interpretations in Scotland and Ireland of the Scottish Reformations of 1560 and 1638–43. It begins with a discussion of the work of two important Presbyterian historians of the early nineteenth century, the Scotsman, Thomas McCrie, and the Irishman, James Seaton Reid. In their various publications, both laid the template for the nineteenth-century Presbyterian understanding of the Scottish Reformations by emphasizing the historical links between the Scottish and Irish churches in the early-modern period and their common theology and commitment to civil and religious liberty against the ecclesiastical and political tyranny of the Stuarts. The article also examines the commemorations of the National Covenant in 1838, the Solemn League and Covenant in 1843, and the Scottish Reformation in 1860. By doing so, it uncovers important religious and ideological linkages across the North Channel, including Presbyterian evangelicalism, missionary activity, church–state relationships, religious reform and revival, and anti-Catholicism.
This book seeks to locate the London presbyterian movement in the metropolitan, parliamentarian and British politics of the mid-seventeenth-century crisis. It explores the emergence of the presbyterian movement in London from the collapse of Charles I’s monarchy, the movement’s influence on the parliamentarian political struggles of the civil war and interregnum and concludes by looking at the beginnings of Restoration nonconformity. The work covers the political, intellectual and social history of the London presbyterian movement, looking at the development of ideas of presbyterian church government and political theory, as well as exploring the London presbyterians’ mobilisation and organisation to establish their vision of reforming the Reformation. The work addresses the use of the ‘information revolution’ in the British revolution, analysing religious disputation, the political use of rumour and gossip and the interface between oral and written culture. It argues that the London presbyterian movement, whose participants are often the foils to explorations of other individuals or groups in historical writing, was critical to the dynamic of the politics of the period.