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Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England$

Ian Green

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208600.001.0001

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Best-Sellers and Steady Sellers III: The Inner Life of Faith, Godly Living, and Godly Dying

Best-Sellers and Steady Sellers III: The Inner Life of Faith, Godly Living, and Godly Dying

(p.305) 6 Best-Sellers and Steady Sellers III: The Inner Life of Faith, Godly Living, and Godly Dying
Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England

Ian Green

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Faith was more than a matter of praying to God and participating in the sacraments, and authors and publishers produced a large number of publications to help the faithful understand and implement their beliefs. Though the distinction was in practice often blurred at the time, some authors chose to focus more on the inner, spiritual side of that faith — soul-searching, self-humiliation, and repentance — while others either described the life of faith in terms of actions and thoughts which embraced both introspection and outward actions in roughly equal proportions, or devoted more space to the importance of the daily round of outward acts of piety at home and in the community. This chapter looks these different types of treatise in turn.

Keywords:   faith, prayers, soul-searching, self-humiliation, repentance, treatise

Faith was more than a matter of praying to God and participating in the sacraments, and authors and publishers produced a large number of publications to help the faithful understand and implement their belief. Though the distinction was in practice often blurred at the time, some authors chose to focus more on the inner, spiritual side of that faith—soul-searching, self-humiliation, and repentance—while others either described the life of faith in terms of actions and thoughts which embraced both introspection and outward actions in roughly equal proportions, or devoted more space to the importance of the daily round of outward acts of piety at home and in the community. In this chapter we will look at these different types of treatise in turn.

Works on the inner ‘life of faith’ comprised a large but diverse group of titles. Indeed, there were arguably greater differences of opinion between authors in this category than in the great majority of categories in our sample, so that this section will have much more to say about the differences between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, and between Anglicans and dissenters, which historians have made familiar. On the other hand if we keep in mind the questions of which works sold best in print, and at what kind of readers they were targeted, we will find many nuances which previous examinations of these texts have overlooked.

I. Elizabethan Works on the Life of Faith

We may begin by looking at two broad surveys of the life of faith that had appeared by the 1580s: both were Catholic in origin, but were modified less than might have been imagined for publication, and both rapidly established a niche in the market. Thomas Rogers's translation of Thomas à Kempis's Imitation of Christ sold seventeen editions between 1580 and 1640, and Edmund Bunny's modification of the first part of Robert Parsons's First booke of the Christian exercise sold at least thirty editions between 1584 and 4630.1

(p.306) The English fascination with Thomas à Kempis's work is remarkable. Many editions had been published in Latin in the late fifteenth century; then between 1504 and 1696 no less than thirteen translations into English and three paraphrases were produced, of which five translations and two paraphrases were by Protestants.2 The most popular Catholic translation was by Richard Whitford, who testified in his preface to the fact that the more the work was read, the more profitable it was in confirming the faithful in good ways.3 The first Protestant translation was in 1567 by Edward Hake, a lawyer and later an MP, who based his translation on the Latin text of à Kempis's first three books by the Swiss humanist teacher, Sebastien Châteillon. But much more popular was the 1580 translation by Thomas Rogers, a rector in Suffolk and chaplain to Bancroft, who compared Châteillon's text with the original. Like Hake, Rogers omitted à Kempis's book 4 (on the mass), but from 1592 he substituted à Kempis's Soliloquium animae for the missing portion.4 Rogers's text was challenged by rival versions from the ‘godly’ John Preston and the Laudian William Page,5 but after 1657 much the most popular version was by the irenic John Worthington, then head of a Cambridge college and friend of the Cambridge Platonists: his passed throug perhaps fifteen editions between 1657 and 1722.6

Of the Protestant paraphrases one was in verse, the work of Luke Milbourne in 1696, and the other by another royal chaplain, George Stanhope, who tried to replace earlier versions, which he felt had ‘in some places grown obsolete’, by something in ‘a style more modern, and a little better suited to subjects of this nature’. Stanhope abridged and amplified where he thought fit, toned down some of the more ‘rapturous passages’ by using vocabulary more suited to ‘the common condition of human life’, and supplemented the text with illustrations of the life of Christ and a number of meditations and prayers of his own devising ‘for sick persons’. The resulting paraphrase was regularly republished in the next few decades, not only in London but in other cities as well, and it was this edition which had such an impact upon the young Wesley.7

(p.307) The influence of à Kempis was felt not simply in the numbers of copies of the different versions produced, but also in the fact that other authors, including churchmen as diverse as Lewis Bayly, Jeremy Taylor, and John Wesley, either cited the Imitation or used it in some other way in their own writings.8

The explanation for this popularity among many Protestants may in part be that Thomas à Kempis was no ordinary Catholic. His criticisms of scholastic learning and of relics and pilgrimages, his stress on studying the Bible or hearing it read and the regular citation of scriptures in his own work, and his comments about the small number of professing Christians that love Christ unfeignedly, and the need for grace in doing good works, may have found a ready audience among Protestants, just as his accessible style of writing may have contributed to the wide appeal of this work. More distinctively medieval at first sight were à Kempis's central preoccupations with the transience of worldly pleasures, the need to mortify carnal and inordinate affections, the importance of an inner life of abasement, patience, humility, and purity of mind, imitating the actions of Christ by rejecting the vanities of this world, and practising self-discipline and self-denial. But a number of these almost certainly struck a chord with more rigorous Protestants too, whether ‘godly’ or ‘High Church’.9

Certainly if we compare the two versions that initially sold best, those of Whitford and Rogers, we find fewer differences than might be imagined. Rogers omitted all mention of monks, hermits, purgatory, prayers for the dead, and the invocation of saints, though in his second prefatory epistle he admitted to having left out only four sentences which might have upset the godly as ‘savouring of superstition’. He also scored fewer anti-Catholic points than the ‘godly’ Hake, though his own position is clear enough from the way in which he changed references to the pope to the ‘proud pope’, and substituted ‘godly’ for ‘religious’ (with its connotations of the religious life led by monks and friars), and ‘zealous’ for ‘devout’. Rogers was prepared to praise à Kempis for his regular use of the Bible and improved on Whitford by adding precise references to the scriptures cited in the original text, up to a dozen per page.10 The alterations in the version which effectively replaced Rogers's in the second half of the seventeenth century were mostly minor ones, (p.308) though Worthington's description of the Lord's Supper as the ‘eucharistical sacrifice’ may have raised a few eyebrows in the 1650s.11

It has been suggested that puritans and Calvinists stressed Christ's atoning work, whereas Anglicans stressed the value of imitating every aspect of Christ's example; but both Rogers and Worthington were far from being High-Churchmen, and yet were anxious to urge on their readers the imitation of Christ's actions.12 Indeed, a number of those normally considered typical of the ‘godly’ or Calvinists, such as William Perkins, Henry Greenwood, John Preston, Edward Reynolds, and James Ussher, focused not merely on Christ's sufferings but also his virtues, and urged their readers to frame their lives accordingly, both inwardly and outwardly.13

Edmund Bunny was another admirer of Calvin—in 1576 he published an abridgement of the Institutes in Latin—but he nevertheless found much to admire in a treatise by the Jesuit, Robert Parsons. In the epistle dedicatory of his modified version of Parsons's First booke of the Christian exercise, addressed to his patron Archbishop Grindal, Bunny explained that he had ‘purged’ the original text, and in the preface to the reader he gave some examples of this purging. ‘Penance’ had been replaced by ‘repentance’ (a key point in criticisms of the standard Vulgate translation of the Bible), and ‘merit’ by ‘good works’ or ‘the service of God’ (which avoided the implication that the doer of good deeds earned rewards for doing them).14 However, a recent line-by-line comparison of the original Catholic and the Protestant versions, by Brad Gregory, has concluded that Bunny kept closely to his intention of changing the original work as little as possible, so that on fewer than twenty occasions in a work of over 400 pages did Bunny delete eight or more lines (most of the significant alterations were smaller ones in order to avoid any hint of merit or salvation through works), and only infrequently did he challenge or alter the scriptural citations given by Parsons.15

In his preface Bunny gave two reasons for commending a Jesuit's work: it stemmed from ‘our greatest adversaries’, and so reading it might help to remove the sources of contention in the church; and well-disposed minds would benefit as much as good Catholics from the great vigor and detail with which Parsons (in the opening section) urged on his readers the truth of Chris (p.309) tianity and the necessity of contemplating their sinful state, leaving the vanities of this world, and serving God, and then (in the next section) described the impediments to a resolution to lead a better life and the means of overcoming them. What we have, in fact, is another clear example of what was common to both Counter-Reformation Christianity and Protestantism: the desire that believers should be not merely nominal but real Christians, whose souls experienced God and whose beliefs dictated their every thought and action.16

Who actually read Bunny's work is less clear: its size together with the use of roman type from the very start suggests that it was not aimed at absolute beginners, or those with limited reading skills. But we have explicit testimonies to its potential impact. The London-based dramatist and moralizing pamphleteer, Robert Greene, attributed his own deathbed conversion from his feckless, drunken ways to a reading of Bunny's ‘book of Resolution’.17 And it was ‘an old torn’ copy of the same which had come into the possession of a ‘poor day-labourer’ who lent it to Richard Baxter's father that helped to convert the fifteen-year-old Baxter. Aware from hearing sermons and reading other books that he should love and honour God, Baxter later said that his heart had not been touched until he read Bunny, and

it pleased God to awaken my soul, and show me the folly of sinning, and the misery of the wicked, and the unexpressible weight of things eternal and the necessity of resolving on a holy life, more than I was ever acquainted with before. The same things which I knew before came now in another manner, with light, and sense and seriousness to my heart.

And as a youth Edmund Calamy was also ‘awakened’ by reading Bunny's work.18

From the 1580s other emphases were beginning to emerge in some English authors’ account of the life of faith, but before we turn to these let us consider two works dating from the early 1600s in the older tradition: Christopher Sutton's Disce vivere: learne to live (1602), and Thomas Tymme's A silver watch-bell (1605). Sutton's sermons were admired by James I who secured him promotion in the church, but he is known today mainly for the three works he published between 1600 and 1602: a treatise on godly dying which will be mentioned later, a pre-communion treatise already mentioned in Chapter 5, and Learne to live.19 These works were all relatively demanding: long, peppered (p.310) with citations from the scriptures and the Fathers, with many Greek and Latin quotations left in the original language. On the other hand they all proved popular: all were published in duodecimo (where the à Kempis and Parsons-Bunny editions, and works like Dod and Cleaver's treatise on the Decalogue, were in octavo or quarto); some editions were published in black letter; and the central message of Disce vivere was simple and direct: all Christians should meditate on every aspect of the life of Christ (described in detail by Sutton) and keep it constantly before their eyes as an example of how they should live.20 This could be held up as an example of a semi-Pelagian tendency in Anglicanism—to urge the imitation of Christ as a means to salvation—or the charge that Anglicans held salvation to be straightforward or a matter of will rather than of grace, if it were not for Sutton's condemnation of those who have the name of Christian but think little of what Christ had done for them and his reference to those who suffered for Christ passing from ‘the state of grace to the state of glory’. In his exhortations to his readers to be like Christ in humility and self-denial, holding popularity in low esteem, working hard, helping the weak, and taking up the cross of suffering as Christ had done for them, Sutton was clearly writing in the same tradition as Rogers and Bunny, and beyond them à Kempis and Parsons.21

The same may be said of Thomas Tymme, whose work was designed ‘to inform men generally on the way of religion and goodness’ through chapters on the shortness of human life, judgement day, the torments of hell, the need for repentance without delay, how to obtain remission of sin, and the glory and felicity that God's children would enjoy in heaven. Written in simple language, at first printed in black-letter type, and shorter than most of the ‘life of faith’ manuals of the period, it proved popular enough to require reprinting more than twenty times between 1605 and the late 1650s. Tymme was not only a parish priest but also a translator of a variety of works including historical and scientific ones as well as works by Augustine and Calvin. In some ways, A silver watch-bell looks to be a ‘godly’ or Calvinist work. Its twelve chapters were supposed to represent twelve strokes on a bell to warn the ‘profane worldling’ and ‘careless liver’ of the dangers of ‘security’ or over-confidence among those professing the faith, and the urgency of the need to repent if they were to avoid hellfire and enjoy the felicities of heaven. There was a stress in chapter 5 on the small number who will be saved, while the majority have a good time, and a grateful acknowledgement of the ending of ‘popish tyranny’ in England many years before. But there are a number of features which fit in less well with this description. More than once Tymme addressed those ‘that have a desire to be saved’; he drew a clear connection between (p.311) leading a Christian life and obtaining salvation, and wrote that imitating Christ is the true perfection of a Christian man; he also wrote of the benefits of the sacraments in unusually strong and positive terms.22 It may have been his desire to help ‘weak Christians’ that led him to use such language, but again it seems nearer the position of Parsons and à Kempis or (as we shall see later) Bayly than that of Beza and Perkins.

ii. Calvinist Works on the Life of Faith

In the last two decades of the sixteenth century, we find a number of treatises being published on the inner life of faith which have a clear Calvinist character, and often high Calvinist at that, reflecting the ideas of those like Beza, Ursinus, and Perkins who took the consequences of Calvin's double predestinarian doctrine further than the master of Geneva himself had done.23 It has often been suggested in recent years that Calvinist authors dominated the religious publications of the Elizabethan and early Stuart period,24 and we are here approaching a corner of the market of which this might reasonably be said. However, these works do need to be viewed in context: if put alongside the other treatises and the devotional works described in this chapter and the last, or the other works in our sample to be examined later, they represent a series of branches on one particular tree, and that tree was just one in a whole thicket of publications. Moreover, on the whole these predestinarian works did not sell as well as other treatises in the sample in terms of repeat editions, and they are more characteristic of the period from the 1590s to the 1650s than the start or end of our period of study.

Information on the teaching of Calvin and Beza, and on the federal theology which represented another area in which second-generation Calvinists moved further than Calvin, was available in some treatises and catechetical works that sold moderately well. But in practice, as noted in Chapter 4, there are relatively few works in our sample which contained a complete or extensive treatment of either the twin decrees or the ordo salutis.25 There is, of (p.312) course, William Perkins's A golden chaine which (in the English translation by Robert Hill from the Latin original) was not a very long work in itself and was enhanced by the famous table in which the reader could trace his fate through the various stages of election or reprobation. But it was not a cheap work because it was published mainly in folio editions which were usually sold and bound with other treatises; and even when it was turned into a much shorter dialogue by Hill, it passed through only two editions, in 1612 and 1621.26 Aspects of the same subject were tackled by other authors: Jean de L'Espine's treatise on justification and sanctification and how to obtain righteousness was translated from French into English by a leading puritan, John Field, in the late 1570s; a Scottish divine with English connections, William Cowper, devoted a good deal of his exposition of chapter 8 of the Epistle to the Romans, in Heaven opened (1609), to explaining the path the elect would follow; and in 1618 Timothy Rogers, a minister in Essex, tackled conversion, justification, adoption, sanctification, and repentance at the start of a work which is not a treatise as such, but a pretended dialogue between a minister and a convert.27

Apart from this dialogue (which sold better than the other works cited so far), the shortest and plainest account was provided by a General Baptist, Henry Haggar, in 1652: The order of causes, of Gods foreknowledge, election and predestination and of mans salvation or damnation was written, he said, so that ‘eventhe meanest capacity amongst rational men may understand it’ and be led out of the labyrinth of the predestinarian debate in which many had become lost.28 By the time that Elisha Coles published his long treatise on predestination and the ordo salutis in A practical discourse of God's sovereignty in 1673, he was on the defensive: he found ‘a general agreement against our doctrine of election’ which in succeeding editions he defended with increasing heat against its critics.29

However, although Calvinist teaching on salvation was not presented point by point in many of the works in our sample, it undeniably gave a very distinctive colouring to a significant number of treatises in it whose authors tackled the life of faith either in broad terms or from a particular angle. The consequences for the life of faith of the high Calvinist stress on the total depravity of man, election being irrespective of human merit, Christ having (p.313) made a limited atonement (in effect), and the existence of different kinds of faith of which only one was saving, were considerable for those who were exposed to such teaching and grasped it thoroughly. It led to an insistence on the heart being not merely bruised but broken and reduced to what Perkins once called ‘a holy desperation’. It was the depth of this desperation and the evolution of new means of curing it—by providing detailed accounts of how to distinguish between different types of faith and between true believers and ‘drowsy professors’, lists of the ‘marks’ of those whose names were written in the Book of Life, and details of the techniques of introspective analysis which would help the elect to tell if they were on the right road to heaven—which help to distinguish ‘godly’ writing from other English Protestants’ work.30 Providing assurance of election was a particular hallmark of high Calvinism in England: from the 1590s to the 1630s, William Perkins, Richard Rogers, Richard Greenham, Robert Bolton, Ezekiel Culverwell, and Daniel and Jeremiah Dyke published a shoal of works particularly concerned with the problem of ‘how to tell’ if one was displaying the marks of the elect, if one's heart was truly broken or deceiving one, if one was walking like a godly man, and so on.31

The difference of emphasis from official teaching here can be seen if we look at the teaching of the formularies written in the Edwardian and early Elizabethan periods, such as the Book of Common Prayer, short catechism, and homilies. There the elect were equated simply with those who believed, as God knew they would, so that membership of the elect was not crucial to the account of the life of faith contained therein. Those same formularies, together with Catholic works like à Kempis's and Parsons's, Lutheran works such as Werdmueller's A spiritual and most precious pearl, most of the devotional works mentioned in Chapter 5 above, handbooks such as George Herbert's Priest to the temple, and the works of conformist divines from Andrewes and Donne through Sanderson and Hammond to Taylor, South, and Sharp, all demanded that the faithful look inside themselves in order to ‘acknowledge and confess’ their ‘manifold sins and wickedness’, and ensure that they had a ‘lively faith’ and a ‘pure heart’, were ‘truly and earnestly’ repentant for their sins and ‘unfeignedly’ believed in the holy Gospel. But they did not lay it down as a norm that the experience of sorrow for sin would be traumatic, or (p.314) that those who were truly repentant could be distinguished readily from those who were not by certain infallible signs; and for assurance of salvation they urged the faithful to look to Christ rather than into their own hearts.32

However, when we turn to Jean de L'Espine's Excellent treatise of Christian righteousness (translated from the French by Field in 1577), we find an earlyexample of the characteristic Calvinist queries (can the elect lose their faith? how can we know if Christ dwells in us or not?) and the equally typical answers (not entirely, and by the remedies listed below by the author). And when we look at the treatise by Jean Taffin, Of the markes of the children of God (1590), which Anne Prowse translated from the French and dedicated to the countess of Warwick in 1590, we find the typically high Calvinist description of the outward and inner marks of the children of God, and an account of how all members of the church of Christ should apply these marks to themselves to gain assurance of adoption and salvation.33 William Perkins also addressed these ideas on various occasions, for example, in A treatise tending unto a declaration whether a man be in the estate of damnation or in the estate of grace (1588).Here he explained that those who were merely ‘temporary professors’, ‘carnal gospellers’, ‘drowsy Protestants’ indistinguishable from ‘papists’, could have some knowledge and feeling of guilt, and even assent to God's will, but that true Christians could go far beyond reprobates in the practice of the Christian religion in this life. He also explained how the elect could apply the Word of God to their consciences and prove their election, for example by using an exercise in logic known as a practical syllogism, and offered comfort for those who had been called but whose consciences were troubling them.34 In another work, A case of conscience, the greatest that ever was: how a man may know whether he be the childe of God or no, Perkins used a dialogue format to explain that ‘theywho are touched by the Spirit … are much troubled with fear, that they are not God's children … and are not quiet till they find some resolution’ about their ‘estate’, which he duly offered to help them discover. But in this case the work did not sell well enough to qualify for our sample in its own right.35

The first part of The true watch, and rule of life (1606), which is in the sample and was written by John Brinsley, a minister and teacher in Leicestershire, was also ‘a direction for the examination of our spiritual estate’, published (he said) because many were in doubt if they were in God's favour or not, and, even worse, ‘many of our simple seduced brethren’ were resisting the godly preachers’ call to examine and try their ways, because they found it divisive (p.315) and unsettling. Brinsley's text plunges straight into the necessity of constant self-examination and advice on ‘how to try our estate’ to the best advantage, using prayer, meditation, and the ‘glass of the Law’ (the Decalogue) and ‘the glass of the Gospel’ (the Apostles’ Creed).36 The sermons which were the basis of Robert Bolton's Discourse about the state of true happinesse (1611) had been given in Oxford and at Paul's Cross in London, and at first he praised the ‘most judicious and intelligent auditory’ at those sermons. But then he warned that those who were ‘of deepest understanding are naturally aptest, and strongliest tempted, to mistake and undervalue the mystery of godliness, and to deceive their own souls’. Had their hearts been ‘broken and bruised’, ‘pierced and purged’, and had they been filled with ‘fearful terrors’? He then informed them how to tell if they had true, saving faith, and described the signs of ‘the formal hypocrite’ who only obeyed God's will outwardly; and he attacked the ‘false prophets’ among the clergy who were too lenient on men's consciences.37 In a later publication, Some generall directions for a comfortable walking with God (1625), based on lectures given at Kettering in Northants, Boltondescribed how he had been converted by the preaching of the Word which he felt ‘first as an hammer to my heart’, which ‘broke it into pieces’, and then ‘a terrible cutting piercing power’ which ‘struck a shaking and trembling into the very centre of my soul’. His Directions were built around Gen. 6: 8– 9 (Noah finding grace with God and as a just man walking with God) and were intended to show how one could tell a godly man and walk like him.38

Similar contempt for ‘rich worldlings’, ‘civil justiciaries’, ‘loose libertines’, or ‘temporary believers’ who deceived themselves into thinking they were real Christians, and for those unregenerates wiho said they ‘believe in Christ as well as the best’ and hoped to be saved ‘for their good lives and good meanings’, can be found in The mystery of selfe-deceiving (1614) by Daniel Dyke, one of a

clan of dissenting clergy, and in The new birth, or a treatise of regeneration (1618) by William Whately, the ‘roaring boy of Banbury’, together with detailed advice to those who had been awakened on how to prove they were among the elect, uncomfortable though that process might be.39 About the same time John Hart used a dialogue between a minister and a scholar to explain how one could tell if one was elect,40 and in what he called a ‘tractate’ the ‘godly’ Henry Greenwood told his readers that ‘the only course the Lord our God (p.316) doth take in the effectual calling and converting of such whose name are written in the Book of Life, is this: he humbleth before he exalteth.’41

By the 1620s accounts of the life of faith were amassing mountains of detail on the types and degrees of faith, the signs of faith, and how to live by faith. Most of the works described in previous paragraphs were quite long, at least 100 pages and often 200 or more: even Greenwood's ‘tractate’ was usually sold as part of a collection of his works. But in works by ‘godly’ clergy, such as Richard Rogers's Seven treatises (1602), Ezekiel Culverwell's A treatise of faith (1623), John Rogers's The doctrine of faith (1626), and (outside the sample) John Ball's A treatise of faith (1631), we find broadly based accounts of the life of faith of which the smallest was over 440 pages of octavo and the largest over 600 pages of folio.42

Richard Rogers's work had appeared in the same year as Christopher Sutton's Disce vivere, and at first sight has many parallels with earlier, broadly based treatises of that kind. It showed ‘true Christians’, those who ‘heartily desire’ such happiness, how they might ‘learn to lead a godly and comfortable life every day, notwithstanding their tribulations’; it stressed the need for knowledge of redemption, and for cleansing the heart and keeping it pure; and two of the seven treatises drift into the godly living genre by urging the faithful to use the means provided such as preaching and sacraments, and suggesting religious exercises for each stage of the day from dawn to dusk. But there are also differences from earlier works. This work, we are told, was designed to combat ‘popish’ claims that ‘we have nothing for the daily direction of a Christian’, by providing a clearly Protestant alternative to the works of Thomas à Kempis and Parsons, which were criticized by name for teaching the Law but not the Gospel.43 Secondly, it was written for those ‘who have tasted how good the Lord is’, rather than to convert the unconverted.44 Thirdly, the author raised difficulties of a type which few previous authors had mentioned: what if the minister does not teach at all, or but seldom or obscurely, or does not catechize?45 Fourthly, there was an insistence on the penitent Christian being completely broken-hearted by his sense of misery for his sins and on true Christians breaking all fellowship with those who were not, and there is advice on how to tell true believers from non-believers and coping with affliction.46 The influence of Rogers's work has been traced in the lives of generations of puritan laymen, but six editions in twenty-eight years suggests that Rogers's Seven treatises was a steady seller rather than a runaway (p.317) best-seller. Perhaps some readers were deterred by its size—over 600 pages of folio—or put off by his suggestion that they should read first his summaries of the seven treatises (at the start), then the marginal notes in the chapters of the text, and only when those were understood the text itself. Even when a fellow puritan minister, Stephen Egerton, abridged the work down to 600 pages of a narrow column duodecimo, for his own use and then ‘for the benefit of such as either want leisure to read or means to provide larger volumes’, it sold only another five editions between 1618 and 1635.47

Equally, in his Treatise of faith (first surviving edition 1623), intended to provide ‘the weakest sorts of Christians’ with ‘heads’ of doctrines drawn from the scriptures to apply to themselves, Ezekiel Culverwell was close to Richard Rogers's and other high Calvinist works in the concern to show how one can tell true faith from the ‘bastard fruit’ of non-saving faith, how to apply God's promises at each stage of the ordo salutis, and how to cope with afflictions. The original was a very long work, and Culverwell was thoughtful enough to provide a short summary entitled ‘The way to a blessed estate in this life’ which was sometimes published separately, and even a summary of that in questions and answers.48 With John Rogers's long treatise on The doctrine of faith (1626), the sum of some weekday lectures on the nature of faith, we return to the degrees and signs of faith and how to overcome hindrances to a life of faith, who wrought it in us and how,49 and in the long preface to the equally long Christians daily walke in holy securitie and peace (1627) by the future presbyterian, Henry Scudder, its editor, John Davenport, listed a number of the works already described here, but said he was publishing anyway on the principle that one cannot teach too often what has not been sufficiently learned, and that one work could confirm the truth of another. Scudder's emphasis on prayer, meditation, fasting, and reading as part of daily life was characteristic of many works of Catholic origin and the later godly living manual; but the stress on regular self-examination for signs of faith and penitence, the patient bearing of afflictions which might include ridicule and social ostracism by the ungodly, and the removing of fears of not being among the elect—were more typical of the Calvinist view of the life of faith.50 Of Precepts for Christian practice (first surviving edition 1645) by Edward Reyner, a protégé of the ‘godly’ Warwick family and partial conformist, it may be said that it started off as a much shorter guide than earlier works, but in subsequent editions it grew to a far larger work, listing ten duties which a ‘new creature’, a true believer, should constantly follow. Some of these duties were temporal, but most were spiritual, and adopted the characteristic ‘active’ vocabulary of the Calvinists: ‘labour after’ union with Christ, (p.318) ‘get’ your heart strongly fixed on God, ‘reject’ the world, ‘make’ your election and calling sure, ‘perform’, ‘fortify’, ‘sanctify’, and so on.51

At this point we also find in our sample some works of above average length by ‘godly’ clergy that tackled a narrower theme: the temptations and afflictions which the elect could expect to face. Thomas Hooker's The souls preparation for Christ (1632) was a long treatise on contrition as part of the process ofconversion; Richard Capel's Tentations (1633) described the nature and danger of temptations and then proceeded to provide large numbers of rules on how to resist them; while Thomas Goodwin's A child of light (which was based on sermons given about 1628 and given an imprimatur, though by the time of actual publication in 1636 Goodwin was a nonconformist) was subtitled ‘a treatise shewing the causes by which, the cases whereon, the ends for which God leaves his children to distress of conscience, together with directions how to walk, so as to come forth of such a condition’. Goodwin was sufficiently aware that ‘weaker readers’ might find the ‘more speculative, and doctrinal’ portions ‘craggy’ and ‘tedious’, and urged them to move onto the main body of the text in which the soul (the child of light) has to face many terrors at the hands of Satan during its pilgrimage through the dark world.52 New records for length were set by William Gurnall, a Suffolk minister and protégé of Sir Symonds D'Ewes, in the three volumes of his The Christian in compleat armour, which he began to publish in 1655. In 1614 William Gouge had taken over 500 pages to expound Ephesians 6: 1 0– 20, but Gurnall took over 2,000 pages to tease every last military simile and metaphor out of the same passage in his account of ‘the saints’ war against the devil’.53 The work cost 16 shillings bound, and like Gouge's armoured car, Gurnall's tank only just made it to the starting line of our sample.

While all of these works sold moderately well, and some better than that, none reached the peak of sales of the works published by Thomas Rogers and Edmund Bunny described above, or that of Bayly's best-selling godly living manual which will be discussed later in this chapter. Moreover, these Calvinist works were often long and also relatively conservative in layout and appearance, and if one were to attempt a profile of a typical reader, it would be someone with an unusual degree of time and motivation as well as a fairly deep pocket.

iii. Shifts in Teaching on Spirituality in the Seventeenth Century

‘Godly’ and dissenting authors like Greenham and Perkins were famous in their own circles for their ‘practical’ divinity and their skills in tending (p.319) wounded consciences. Even Perkins, who is usually cited for his hard-line double predestinarianism, had a softer, more considerate side when he was offering a measure of comfort to the regenerate.54 But by the 1620s and 1630s, if not earlier, so great had become the stress in many high Calvinist works on self-examination for signs of election, spiritual turmoil as a sign of grace, and on other related themes not so well represented in the sample (such as the need to prepare for conversion), that there was a serious risk of creating despair among those who were genuinely sorry for their sins, and anxious to believe, but who had not yet experienced the kind of soul-searing experience that Bolton, Goodwin, and others had done. Those who had read Bolton's account of his own conversion but not experienced something similar might well fear that they were among those worldlings gulled by Satan into thinking that they had saving faith when in truth they had only ‘temporary’ or ‘historic’ faith. If such spiritual tension was acute enough, or allied to social, economic or other pressures, whether in the family or wider community, there was a real possibility of religious despair and even suicide, as contemporaries and some recent studies have indicated.55

The pastoral response among moderate ‘godly’ preachers like John Preston and Richard Sibbes seems to have been to spend less time awakening sinners to the enormity of their crimes and providing endless lists of ‘marks’ of election, and to devote more space to reassuring ‘weak’ Christians that they would not be pushed beyond the limits of what was humanly possible, and that whatever their problems there were means of overcoming them, above all the help of Christ and the Holy Spirit. While clergy continued to fix a hard, uncompromising stare on those unregenerates who showed no inclination to turn from their evil ways, they spent more time assuring the regenerate that the smallest spark or even just the desire for faith might be a sign of election, and reminding those in affliction of the great happiness that awaited the elect in heaven.

The high tide of the Calvinist stress on humiliation and self-analysis for assurance began to turn in other ways. Two other trends in the early seventeenth century which will need to be examined shortly are the greater weight attached to thinking about Christ as part of the life of faith, and the simpler message about repentance, especially at the lower levels of publishing.56 The reaction against high Calvinism was taken a stage further by Richard Baxter (p.320) in the 1650s. Baxter regularly praised earlier ‘practical’ authors such as Perkins and Bolton, and especially Preston and Sibbes; but by the mid-century concern about spiritual desperation had been joined by a second fear: that an uncompromising predestinarianism and a reliance on the testimonies of the Spirit in the individual soul could lead to antinomianism and sectarianism, which Baxter had witnessed at first hand in the parliamentarian army. As a result, he felt the need to soften predestinarian teaching, put greater stress on the role of reason in assessing the Gospel promises, and treat individuals as rational creatures who had (with divine help) some kind of choice to make, though for his pains he was dubbed an ‘Arminian’ by those he left behind.57 As we will see later in this chapter, the 1650s also saw the first appearance of some new godly living manuals with a different perspective to earlier ones by ‘godly’ authors like Becon, Dod, and Cleaver, but which would prove extremely popular in the later seventeenth century. Let us take a closer look at some of these points in turn.

iv. The Need for Reassurance

This can be found as early as the 1590s, in the later part of Jean Taffin's Markes, where the children of God were told they could be assured of theirsalvation even if the marks of their election were ‘but small and weak’,58 and some of Perkins's works, such as the first book in The whole treatise of the cases of conscience and the much shorter Graine of musterd seede (1597), where he explainedthat ‘the least measure of grace that is or can be effectual to salvation’ in the elect was as small as a mustard seed, and that from the instant one of the elect was called he was a child of God and had the promise of eternal life, even though at that stage he was still more carnal than spiritual.59 Indeed, at times he suggested that the ‘constant and earnest desire’ to be reconciled to God was equivalent to that reconciliation, a feeling of grief at the lack of grace was equivalent to the grace itself, and that though a Christian be largely ignorant of religion, as long as he or she takes care to increase in knowledge and practice what he knows, he is accepted by God as a true believer—a combination of sentiments that would probably have been quite acceptable to Arminius, (p.321) Perkins's arch enemy at the level of advanced theological debate.60 At much the same date the moderate puritan Richard Greenham also wrote a series of moderately short ‘grave counsels’ and ‘godly treatises’ to comfort all who were afflicted in conscience, though these were available most readily only in the collected works of that author.61

Market forces are evident in the preface to the third edition of the ‘godly’ Robert Linaker's Comfortable treatise for such as are afflicted in conscience (which also first appeared in the 1590s), where he observed that, although Greenham and Perkins had tackled the subject, his own ‘little volume’ (240 duodecimo pages) had been requested by various ‘poor souls’ who had already received some comfort from it, and that he had been pressed a number of times by his publisher to issue a revised edition.62 Another author to have been importuned, in this case by ‘many hearers’ and others, to publish his medium-sized ‘essay concerning the assurance of God's love, and man's salvation’ was another puritan divine, Nicholas Byfield, in 1617.63

But perhaps the most widely read source of reassurance was written by the widely admired moderate puritan, Richard Sibbes. His famous sermons on The bruised reede, and smoaking flax were published in 1630‘at the desire, and forthe good of weaker Christians’, who were assured that although bruising was necessary before and after conversion, Christ would not bend the bruised reed beyond its breaking point. ‘Christ is set out here as a mild saviour to weak ones’, who may ‘come boldly to the throne of grace’. ‘Go to Christ, though trembling’, urged Sibbes, and like the poor woman ‘if we can but touch the hem of his garment, we shall be healed’.64 Similarly in his equally popular The soules conflict with it selfe (on David's ‘wrestling with God’), Sibbes urged thefaithful who were troubled by Satan to seek spiritual peace actively by looking to God for assurance of salvation: ‘God is the centre and resting-place of the soul’.65

Two innovative titles from the same period are the anonymous Heavens happiness and a work variously entitled A collection of certaine promises and The saints legacie by A. F. (perhaps Anthony Fawkner or Farindon). Both of these sold anunusually high number of copies for this type of work (ten and thirteen editions respectively), and both had a distinctly more uplifting message than those stressing affliction or war with the devil. The first was only twenty-four pages long, published in black-letter type, and provided ‘a brief epitome of (p.322) the blessed and happy estate of Gods saints in heaven’, the contemplation of which it was hoped would act as a provocation to seek that kingdom.66 The second was longer, but was described as a ‘little volume’ and a ‘pocket-book’, and consisted of a series of scripture texts encapsulating God's promises to the elect, arranged under a series of headings for quick reference in different situations.67 Another innovative short work, consisting of just thirty-six duodecimo pages in black letter, was John Andrewes's The converted mans new birth (1629), which was written in a ‘short and compendious method, briefly tobe read, that it may be effectually practised’. It has some Calvinist hallmarks such as the references to ‘the spiritual battle between the regenerate man and Satan’ and the ‘mark’ by which to tell who was the child of God; but the work is also notable for the dearth of remarks about the reprobate and its generally positive tone. Andrewes is ‘describing the direct way to go to heaven’, and those who seek to have their souls saved, and labour to know their sin and see if they are the Lord's, can be certain of their salvation.68 Taken together, these works—and others that did not qualify for the sample—confirm that a market for reassurance had come into being, while the shorter length and to some extent less austere message of some titles by the 1620s indicates that at least some authors, pushed on by publishers, were prepared to temper the wind to the shorn lamb to supply that market.

v. Thinking of Christ as Saviour and Exemplar

Having surveyed a large quantity of the literature produced by Tudor puritans, M. M. Knappen concluded that the Gospels did not appear to have attracted the puritans particularly compared to the rest of the New Testament and the whole of the Old, and that after the age of Hooper there was a ‘surprising lack of Christological thought’ and ‘the person of Christ figures very little in their literature’. The high Calvinists of later Elizabethan England risked being pulled further away from a Christocentric towards a theocentric position as a result of their increased emphasis on the divine decrees as deciding the fate of mankind (in the supralapsarian case before there was even need for a redeemer), and their decision to urge the faithful to look inside themselves for signs of assurance as well as, and in some cases even more than, to the objective promises of Christ in the Gospels.69

Such a tendency was usually kept in check. In the first place, high Calvinists who expounded the Creed, either at some length or more briefly in a (p.323) catechism, were not likely to forget the key role of Christ as both redeemer and mediator for his chosen people.70 Secondly, the move towards placing the life of faith in the context of the covenant of grace, which in some authors’ hands led to an even harder predestinarian line grafting the covenant of grace onto the decree of election, had an element of Christocentricity in that Christ was generally acknowledged as the mediator of that covenant between God and man. One explanation of this shift to federal theology among second-generation Calvinists is that the covenant of grace provided an ‘instrument for assurance’ to those worried whether they were elect; and in this context it is instructive that moderate Calvinists like Preston and Sibbes tended to pass over reprobation when discussing the covenants. If the ‘weak saints’ encountered new fears, for example, that they were not in the covenant of grace or could not fulfil some part of their covenant duty, they were told by Preston to ‘go to Christ’ for help, and ‘urge him with this, it is a part of his covenant, that he hath confirmed by oath, and must do it’.71 As we have seen in the discussion on pre-communion handbooks, the Lord's Supper was also widely portrayed as an opportunity for the faithful to renew their covenant with God.

What is also revealing about the works that sold well enough to qualify for our sample is that a number of them put particular emphasis on the faithful not just thinking about what their saviour had done for them, but also trying to apply his many perfections to their own lives. In a short treatise entitled A declaration of the true manner of knowing Christ crucified (1596), Perkins focused on Christ's sufferings, encouraged readers to meditate on the Passion, and at each stage urged them to frame their lives according to his, both inwardly and outwardly.72 In the second of the two treatises by Daniel Dyke that his brother published in 1616, there was a detailed account of the temptations that Christ had endured, and a list of the uses to which his defeat of Satan could be put.73 In a baptism sermon delivered in 1615 (on ‘the most blessed baptism … ever … solemnized’), Henry Greenwood urged his listeners and readers to open the doors of their hearts to Christ when he knocked at them; and in The blessedest birth that ever was (a Christmas day sermon preached in the Fleetprison in 1627) he described the greatness of the joy that the angel's tidings had brought to all people that a saviour was born to them that day.74 Christ's atoning work is here being presented as a source of inspiration to all hearers and readers, even if the author made a mental reservation that it was effective for the elect alone.

(p.324) Other ‘godly’ preachers went further. Among the themes in John Preston's The breast-plate of faith and love (1630) were reasons why we should love Christ, and an account of the ‘ground and exercise of faith and love as they are set upon Christ their object, and as they are expressed in good works’.75 Another preacher at the Inns of Court at that time, Edward Reynolds, preached several sermons on the life of Christ, later published as the last of his Three treatises in 1631; and a few years later Archbishop James Ussher published his Immanuel which in sixty pages unfolded the mystery of how God became achild and a mediator between God and man, and how we can partake of a mystical union with a Christ who is priest, prophet, and king.76 There are also the interesting remarks in the preface of The bruised reede, and smoaking flax (by another Inn preacher), deploring the lack of space given in the current literature to the gracious nature and office of Christ, ‘the right conception of which is the spring of all service to and comfort from Christ’.77 Such an over-sight was hardly true of the sermons by Lancelot Andrewes published by order of Charles I in 1629: these included seventeen on the nativity, and twenty-one given on Good Friday and Easter day, in which Andrewes urged listeners to look to Christ for a proper sense of the blessings of salvation that he had brought to mankind.78

At the other edge of the ministry, Thomas Hooker, Nicholas Lockyer, and Thomas Goodwin also published works on the need to come to Christ. Hooker's The poor doubting Christian drawn to Christ sold well both in the original full-length version of 1635 and the abridged form drawn up by a publisher in the 1660s; Lockyer's ‘little tract’ on Christs communion with his church militant (1640) dealt with not just Christ's coming to comfort his church, but also the importance of the individual devoting himself to Christ and achieving communion with him; while Goodwin's Christ set forth in his death, resurrection, ascension (1642), encouraged readers to see Christ as the object of justifying faith, and to draw encouragement from his resurrection and intercession at God's right hand on their behalf. Goodwin's preface made it very clear that too many had become so ‘carried away’ with searching for ‘the rudiments of Christ in their own hearts’ that Christ himself ‘is scarce in all their thoughts’—a situation he tried hard to remedy in this work.79

It was also not long before another Protestant version of Thomas à Kempis's Imitatio Christi was brought out in English by the moderate John Worthington, who chose as his title The Christians pattern; and at much the same (p.325) time two of the works attributed to John Hart and entitled Christs first sermon and Christs last sermon began their striking run of repeat editions.80 By then had also appeared Jeremy Taylor's life of Christ, The great exemplar (1653), which combined a description of Christ's life with ‘considerations’ and ‘prayers’ to help the faithful imitate it.81 The works cited in this paragraph and previous ones would suggest that any dichotomy between a puritan focus on Christ's atoning work and an Anglican one on his moral example is far from clear-cut. They also demonstrate that from the early Stuart period, works by authors of all persuasions focusing on the gospel promises of salvation in Christ and on the need to be like Christ and in Christ were likely to achieve steady sales. Once again they sold better than the heavy artillery of high Calvinist treatises on the inner life of faith.

vi. The Call to Repentance

The way in which repentance was urged also to some extent changed in the first half of the seventeenth century, to judge from the works in our sample, though to see the differences in the way in which conversion and repentance were presented, it is necessary to take a step or two back. The call to repent was not a puritan preserve. There is hardly a section in the most frequently used parts of the Prayer Book services which does not urge confession of sins, or contain petitioners’ pleas for forgiveness or requests for help in avoiding further sin. These are also regular themes in the collects and the official short catechism of 1549, and the official ‘Homily on repentance’ also began: ‘There is nothing that the Holy Ghost doth so much labour in all the scriptures to beat into men's heads, as repentance, amendment of life, and speedy returning unto the Lord God of hosts.’82 (The role of the Holy Spirit should be noted, since non-Calvinists as much as Calvinists believed that turning was not possible without the help of the Holy Ghost.) The urgency of the need to repent was also stated clearly in Richard Wimbledon's Sermon no less fruteful than famous [1540?], and in John Bradford's long Sermon of repentance (1553), a gooddeal of which was devoted to warning readers of the difference between Protestant repentance and Catholic penance, contrition, confession, and satisfaction as well as describing ways in which men could be persuaded to sorrow for their sins.83 The urgency of the need to repent is also prominent in the Lenten sermons of Lancelot Andrewes and the treatises of men like Jeremy (p.326) Taylor, who was a great opponent of deathbed repentance.84 Like Augustine before them, Luther and other non-Calvinist reformers felt that turning to God was of crucial importance, but did not separate the process of turning to God from the sense of penitence for sin that properly accompanied that move. Nor did they devote much space to the precise moment or actual process of turning, since they tended to see repentance not as a once-and-for-all turning, but as either the first time a sinner turned to God, or more commonly as a renewed turning to God after renewed sin; and in both these cases what was important was the life of faith and new obedience that followed rather than the experience of turning.85

However, if one looks at some works by English Calvinists published from the 1580s to the 1610s, one finds not only a tendency to separate the moment at which the elect were effectually called from the process of repentance, but also a greater emphasis on the feelings experienced and the changes associated with these events. Effectual calling was the first stage of the ordo salutis, and was for the elect alone; and when the grace that would enable them to turn to God was delivered, it was irresistible and indefectible—there was no turning back. Repentance, on the other hand, was part of sanctification, a later stage of the ordo, and discussions of it tended to become longer with detailed accounts of the obstacles in the way of proper repentance, and the need for introspection to detect the deep remorse and other marks that distinguished true from half-hearted repentance. Calling and repentance were not necessarily treated separately, and when strict Calvinist preachers warned their congregations of Judgement Day and urged them to turn to God and repent, they were not necessarily expecting a road-to-Damascus, bolt-from-the-blue conversion, but looking to achieve different things with different groups. The reprobate would be shown why they merited punishment; the as yet unregenerate would have their hearts bruised and humbled in preparation for effectual calling; and those already in receipt of grace would be reminded of the risks of backsliding and the need to carry on the process of sanctification by putting off the old and putting on the new.86

Thus in the extremely popular A sermon of repentance, by the ‘godly’ Essex minister, Arthur Dent, which sold nearly forty editions between 1582 and 1642, one finds the same thrust as in the official homily on the need for repentance, but with some new emphases: the majority of people had only ‘the bare title and naked name of repentance’; true repentance was so difficult and mysterious that few could come to grips with it; and there were many different qualities and effects of repentance, and hindrances to it.87 In another very (p.327) popular work, by the ‘godly’ Samuel Smith, it was stressed that those whose names were not written in the Book of Life would be thrown into eternal flames at The great assize on Judgement Day, which was imminent. But Smith also took the opportunity to give an extensive treatment of his views on predestination and try to provide assurance for the elect.88 And in A three-fold resolution, verie necessarie to salvation (1603), John Denison, a preacher and teacher in Reading, devoted 430 pages to describing the vanity of all earthly things, and the horrors of hell to which they could lead, before turning to 140 pages on the felicity of heaven that awaited those prepared to work true repentance in themselves.89

There were shorter works containing calls to repentance, such as ‘Silver-tongued’ Smith's The trumpet of the soule, sounding to judgement (1591), William Perkins's Exhortation to repentance (1605), and Henry Greenwood's A treatise of the great and generall day of judgement (1606), in all of which there was less space forstress on the technicalities of effectual calling, the obstacles to repentance, or the techniques of introspection by which the elect could be assured their name was in the Book of Life. But even here, the call to repent was set in a context of introspection or spiritual angst. Henry Smith spent much of his sermon warning of the seductive quality of sin and the price to be paid on Judgement Day before urging his hearers to choose ‘to seek the Lord whilst he may be found’ rather than ‘be found of him when you would not be sought’. The pain and tribulation associated with true repentance were also made clear: the repentant choose to take their hell here and now on earth.90 In his Exhortation to repentance, preached at Stourbridge Fair, Perkins made it clear that‘no man can have true and sound repentance, but he who hath first of all searched and examined himself ‘diligently and seen his own wretchedness, which was ‘the beginning of all grace’.91 Greenwood also combined an exhortation to the sinner to prepare for Judgement Day by ‘so leading his life that it may go well with him at that day’, with a clear statement that all men should know that ‘repentance is not theirs at command: but it is the great mercy of God’.92

What we find happening from the 1620s and 1630s is a growing number of works in which the call to repentance was marked less by stress on the divine decree, introspection, and ‘holy desperation’, and more by emphasis on the simple dichotomy between the fate of the good and that of the evil on Judgement Day, or the good news that Christ was waiting for those sinners who (p.328) took the simple decision to turn to him.93 We find this to some degree among what might be called ‘genuine’ or professional writers who were harking back to the pre-Calvinist emphases, but also to a much greater degree among authors with less claim to knowledge or doctrinal orthodoxy, some of whose works were published in very short, twenty-four or forty-eight page chapbooks or pamphlets, often in black letter and with a woodcut on the cover.

One of these was the author of Deaths knell. Or, the sick mans passing-bell of which the first surviving edition (said to be the ninth) was published in 1628, and the sixteenth in 1637, and which was said to be by ‘W. Perkins’, though it will be suggested in Chapter 8 that this was not the Cambridge Perkins.94 Another work that may have sold even more editions in an even shorter space of time was A golden trumpet sounding an alarum to judgement (first surviving edition

1641, twenty-ninth ‘impression’ 1648), which was attributed to John Andrewes, though again there is some doubt as to how much of it is his work.95 Similarly packaged and equally simplistic works continued to appear over the next few decades. The door of salvation opened was first published c.1650, and bears on the title-page the initials T. P., probably standing for Thomas Passinger, the publisher of a wide range of cheap pamphlets. Its theme was that Christ continues to knock at sinners’ hearts, and they must open their hearts to Christ or pay the consequences.96 Two other ventures in which Passinger was involved were an abridgement of Baxter's Call to the unconverted which was not authorized by the author but may have sold fifty-seven editions between 1662 and c.1680; and an abridgement of Baxter's Now or never, of which Passinger was the sole publisher for many of the twenty-eight editions said to have been published from the early 1660s to the mid-1680s.97 These same decades also witnessed the sale of dozens of editions of the black-letter pamphlet-sermons attributed to ‘John Hart’ or ‘Andrew Jones’, such as Christs first sermon (‘or the absolute necessity, gospel-duty, and Christian practice of repentance, opened and applied’), which sold perhaps twenty-six editions between 1656 and c.1680; Christs last sermon (twenty-third edition c.1700) which was on the fate of the godly and the ungodly in the world to come, and asked direct, personal questions of the kind that Bunyan would ask (‘What think you of these things, sinners? will ye come to Christ and be saved, or no?’); and Dooms-day: or, the great day of the Lord drawing nigh (allegedly thirty editions from the late 1650s to (p.329) the early 1680s), which contained an even shorter statement that the end was nigh, so that men should live each day as if it was their last.98

Not all of these works pared the earlier Calvinist teaching on repentance right down to the bone or beyond. In their earlier and perhaps more authentic works, it will be argued later, Andrewes and Hart insisted that conversion was a work of God, that God was the author of repentance, that repentance was a transforming experience, and that faith was needed as well as repenance; it was only in the later works attributed to them that less was said about faith and more about men's ‘care’ or ‘desire’ to be saved.99 Similarly, Thomas Goodwin's brief Encouragements to faith (1650) included references to God's decree and covenant with Christ, as well as drawing from his text (John 6: 37–8) the message that Christ was ready to receive and pardon sinners, and we should come to Christ.100 But in short works by non-Calvinists such as Quakers like George Fox and William Dewsbury, and in many of the shortest and most popular works by less well-informed authors, it was the stress on the simplicity of the act of turning to Christ and (in the case of the less scholarly works) the almost automatic nature of the forgiveness that would follow that was to the fore. In such works the ‘holy desperation’ had been reduced to a minimum, and, to judge from ‘godly’ clergy's complaints, the people continued to see repentance as ‘a very light and easy thing, which they can have when they list’.101

Larger works on the subject of repentance continued to appear. The author of the preface to Wilfull impenitency (1648) by William Fenner, yet another ‘godly’ minister in Essex, clearly felt that Fenner was able to ‘condescend to parley with poor Christians at their tables, in their shops, to follow them at the plough (as Reverend Mr Greenham was wont to do)’, but at over 100 pages this was a work of middling length compared to the ‘Perkins’, ‘Andrewes’, ‘Hart’/‘Jones’ and Passinger works, and was also published in roman typeface. The subject-matter was also tricky in that Fenner was clearly very hostile to the idea of man having untrammelled free will, but wanted to argue that every man could do more good and shun more evil than he did, so that the condemnation of those who wilfully disobeyed God was all the greater.102

In 1667 the nonconformist minister Thomas Vincent published two substantial but topical works addressed especially to the citizens of London who were wondering why they had had to face plague, fire, and war in previous (p.330) years. Gods terrible voice in the city of London contains a long description of the plague and fire (including edifying details of how the godly died peacably), but then switches to a catalogue of the many heinous sins for which God had punished the city, and urges citizens to wake, search their ways, turn from evil ways, and make it their only business to serve God.103 In Christs certain and sudden appearance to judgement, Vincent sounded another trumpet in their ears: there was a much worse judgement at hand, the last judgement, and so all, but especially the wicked, should believe, consider and prepare.104 In 1668 Thomas Gouge, another minister ejected in 1662, published A word to sinners to awaken them to the ‘dreadful condition they are in, so long as they live in their natural and unregenerate state’, and ‘a word to saints … to persuade them to several singular duties’. Again the choice facing the sinner was put in apparently open-ended terms: Christ's sacrifice was all-sufficient in that he died for the sins of the whole world, and he was ready to embrace those ‘who will come unto him, and receive him upon the terms of the Gospel’. The ‘duties to be practised in order to your regeneration’ were then spelt out in detail, and objections likely to be raised by carnal unregenerates dismissed.105 And in 1672 was published the first edition of one of the best-selling works on conversion—Joseph Alleine's Alarme to unconverted sinners (1672)—another middling-length work of which more will be said shortly.

Three other works on repentance in the sample may be mentioned to round off this part of the story. All were by conformist clergy: Richard Kidder later became bishop of Bath and Wells, John Hayward was a rector in London, and John Inett though of Huguenot background conformed to the established church. All wrote to ensure that the faithful had a clear idea of what true repentance was and the thorough reformation that it entailed, but while none shirked from describing the fate of the unregenerate, none linked their fate to the divine decrees. All three's works were innovative: they were longer than the ‘Andrewes’–‘Hart’–’Jones’ type but shorter than the specialist tomes of the early Stuart period; two incorporated engravings, two were linked to devotional aids, and one targeted the young in particular. Kidder's medium-length ‘discourse’ was the one aimed at reasonably well-educated young persons ‘before they are debauched by evil company and evil habits’; they were warned of the ‘necessity of seeking the Lord betimes’ and the ‘danger and unreasonableness of trusting to a late, or deathbed repentance’. The young man's duty had an appropriate engraving opposite the title-page, wasplainly if soberly phrased, and sold steadily from the 1670s to the mid-eighteenth century.106 Inett's Guide to repentance (1692) was also a sober piece, stating not only the need for effective repentance, but also the wisdom of spending (p.331) time each week in retreat for self-examination and prayer; in fact this Guide was often published with his own collection of prayers entitled A guide to the devout Christian.107

Hayward's was altogether a much livelier piece of work, not only in the title—Hell's everlasting flames avoided: Heaven's eternal felicities enjoyed—and the crude depictions of heaven and hell opposite the title-page, but also in the language and mode of presentation—a soliloquy which contained much expostulation, alliteration, and repetition (‘Alas! how I am deformed, how I am defiled’). Tacked on to the end were ten pages on how to prepare for the Lord's Supper, and thirty pages of prayers for various needs and occasions, so it is perhaps not surprising that the work became a best-seller, perhaps thirty-five editions being printed between the early 1690s and the early 1730s.108 What we have here then are works by conformists as anxious to stress the need for sincere penitence as anyone in the previous century and a half, and who were doing so with as much immediacy as the authors of the black-letter chapbooks and pamphlets of the late seventeenth century, but not from the same simplistic doctrinal standpoint. Moreover, those works sold steadily and in one case very well.

Why calls to repentance should have sold so well from the 1620s to the 1680s, and especially at the level at which shorter, cheaper works were targeted, is a larger question than we can consider here, but some suggestions may be made. After a period of relative peace England was caught up in the severe tensions brought about by the Thirty Years War in Germany, rebellions in Scotland and Ireland, the civil wars of the 1640s, and later the wars with the Dutch. Many of these tensions coincided with, or were caused by, the fears of ‘popery’ at home and abroad that were stirred up from the 1620s to the 1640s, the disquiet aroused in the 1640s and 1650s by the rise of the sects, and then the later concerns at the apparent resurgence of English Catholicism in alliance (it was thought) with the aggressive Louis XIV. The full psychological and social ramifications of the events of the middle decades of the century were probably not all felt at once, while the upheavals associated with the Exclusion Crisis and the events of 1688 –90 may have conspired to keep uncertainties and doubts at a pitch. Add to these the wave of early Stuart providentialist treatises, sermons, and ballads foretelling divine wrath ‘unless ye repent’ that Dr Walsham has recently identified, and the economic, social, and health problems facing the lower middling and lower orders, especially in the plague-ridden towns, and one can see why many more readers may have turned to the sort of works being discussed here. On a more positive note, there is the continuing rise in the number of readers or book-buyers, and perhaps the greater comprehensibility (compared to the earlier, detailed accounts (p.332) of effectual calling, constant introspection, and utter wretchedness) of the message that Christ was ready to welcome, without qualification, all those who turned to him. The way in which this message was presented by anxious clergy, opportunistic balladeers, and the print trade was also being tailored to suit wider tastes, and sales were correspondingly impressive.109

vii. The Life of Faith in the Later Stuart Period

In the ‘life of faith’ treatises in our sample which were published from the 1640s to the 1690s there are a few examples of the older high Calvinist emphases, in part as variations on an existing theme, but in part also as a response to what some saw as a simple ‘moralism’ being preached by authors like Taylor, Allestree, or even Baxter. However, in publishing terms only a small minority of these late Calvinist works proved popular.

Thomas Shephard had emigrated from Cambridge to New England, but in the early 1640s published two works in England: The sincere convert, and The sound beleever. In the first, he stressed that Christ was not intended for all, that very few are saved, and they with much difficulty, and that there were many false gates to heaven; he also provided ‘Instructions how to get a broken heart’.110 Almost half of the second work was devoted to ‘conviction’ of sin, pricking of conscience, and humiliation, before he moved onto the life of faith which was described in a typically high Calvinist fashion.111

Thomas Brookes, a puritan preacher in London, devoted three of his treatises to the subjects of affliction and assurance. Precious remedies against Satans devices (1652) listed over thirty devilish stratagems designed to draw souls to sin and doubt and away from their duties, but followed each one with several remedies.112 In Heaven on earth (1654), subtitled ‘a serious discourse touching a well-grounded assurance’, and addressed to ‘all saints that … walk according to the laws of the new creature’, he argued against the ‘papists’ and ‘Arminians’ that persons in this life may obtain a well-grounded assurance of their predestination to salvation, and gave details of how and when to pursue this ‘sweet’ assurance.113 The mute Christian under the smarting rod contains the memorable remark: ‘Dear hearts, The choicest saints are born to troubles as the sparks fly upwards’, but they were still urged to be silent under their afflictions.114 However, none of these proved as popular as the same author's quirky and more upbeat Apples of gold, which will be mentioned below under godly (p.333) living treatises. The general tone of The Christians charter (1652) by Thomas Watson, a royalist presbyterian minister in London, was also more positive, listing as it did the many privileges of the ‘saints’ whose names were written in the ‘book of life’. In its successor, Autarkeia, or the art of contentment (1653), Watson provided over a dozen motives to be content with their lot, though much of this was expressed in the characteristically active vocabulary of the high Calvinists, such as ‘advance faith’, ‘labour for assurance’, ‘get a humble spirit’, and so on.115

Three similar works that sold much better, though they were among the few of this type in the sample to do so, were Matthew Mead's The almost Christian discovered, which sold perhaps fifteen editions between 1662 and 1708, John Flavell's A saint indeed, perhaps thirteen editions between 1668 and 1729, and Thomas Wilcox's A choice drop of honey from the rock Christ, first published c.1690 and in its fortieth edition by 1732. Mead's work was ‘the substance of seven sermons’ preached in London, and ‘now at the importunity of friends made public’. The author said that the preaching of the gospel had persuaded many of the congregation to make a profession of faith, but too many were still only formal professors. Accordingly, he listed twenty steps that a man might take towards heaven—acquire knowledge, hate sin, be zealous in external duties, pray often, and so on—but if there was no change of heart, or the actions did not flow from spiritual conviction (through grace), then a man would still be no more than ‘almost a Christian’. The result was quite a long work, but it combined scripture examples and scholarly quotations with deliberate repetitions of the type also used by Bunyan, and the occasional folksy simile: at one point he compared ‘almost Christians’ to the ‘rats and mice of religion, that would live under the roof of it, while they might have shelter in it, but when it suffers, forsake it’. This combination may have appealed to a wide range of readers, among both conformists as well as dissenters.116 Flavell's main target was somewhat different: the professed members of his Devonshire flock whose ‘power of godliness’ had ‘much decayed’, perhaps because of the persecution they had faced since 1662, though he also attacked the hypocrisy of those posing as saints. Flavell offered the saints detailed advice on ‘heart work’ to help them cope with adversity, and told them that God would reward those with upright hearts—a message that clearly found appreciative readers well into the next century.117 Wilcox's work was much the shortest—a mere thirty-two pages of small duodecimo—as well as the most popular of the three. Wilcox was a Particular Baptist, and was aiming at ‘professors’ to whom he (p.334) offered advice on justification and sanctification as well as introspective soul-searching. On the other hand, his work was easily the most extrovert and Christocentric of the three: readers were to look more at justification than sanctification, to compare everything they did with Christ, and, if they needed help, to think about how Christ was using his interest with the Father on their behalf.118

Other late-seventeenth century authors demonstrated a continuing concern to inform readers of the good news in the gospel, the need to repent sincerely, and to obey God's will fully, but avoided a predestinarian framework. In some cases this repudiation was overt, as in the Independent John Saltmarsh's Free grace (1645), which argued that grace was available to all,119 the ex-Calvinist Thomas Pierce's Correct copy of some notes (1655), and two works by Quakers, James Nayler and William Shewen, and one by the episcopalian Richard Allestree. Nayler's Love to the lost (1656), ‘set forth chiefly for the directing the simple into the living way of truth’, condemned futile speculation on election, and those who said God condemned some before they were born, or saved others who died in sin: the elect were ‘they that are after the Spirit’, and the reprobate ‘they that are after the flesh’.120 In The true Christian's faith and experience (1675), Shewen provided a Quaker view of salvation and faith which systematically contrasted the correct views of ‘the ‘true Christian’ with the erroneous ones of ‘the titular Christian’, and in the process repudiated a good deal of Calvinist doctrine too.121 Allestree's treatise on The causes of the decay of Christian piety was written some time before its publication in 1667 (at a time of public humiliation due to plague, fire, and military defeat). But while much of the text was a condemnation of the many sins and mischiefs that arose from only partial obedience to God's will, there was a condemnation for ‘our bold folly in meddling with God's decrees’ and of prying into some points of knowledge which God had thought fit to hide from us.122 In other cases the repudiation was more a matter of omission, as in James Janeway's ‘discourse’ entitled Heaven upon earth (1668), which was intended to help people get to know God as their best friend in the worst of times; The best match (1673) by another dissenting minister, Edward Pearse, who was anxious for his readers to be brought into closer union with Christ here on earth; and Richard Allestree's Art of contentment (1675), which was designed to develop men's skill in finding contentment. Allestree stressed God's absolute sovereignty and his many providences, both general and particular, pointed to the advantages of afflictions and the need to mortify our pride, and offered (p.335) advice on coping with misfortunes, but in all this there was not a word of Calvinist soteriology.123

viii. Baxter, Alleine, Bunyan, and the Life of Faith

Three other authors in our sample whose work in different ways reflects a growing detachment from the way in which ideas on the life of the spirit had been communicated hitherto were Richard Baxter, Joseph Alleine, and John Bunyan. All deserve closer scrutiny here because of their readiness to use print, and to experiment in the way that they put their message across.

Baxter has won a reputation as the leading puritan man of letters, a man who saw himself as ‘a pen in God's hand’, and published 140 works in just over forty years. But it was the range and quality of what he wrote rather than the number of best-sellers that distinguish his output. Less than a quarter of those 140 works passed into a second edition, and of those only a dozen reached three or four editions, and only six qualify for our sample.124 Who was he writing for, and who bought his works? In two editions of his Compassionate counsel to all young men, those of 1681 and 1691, Baxter listed his own publications and classified them according to both type—doctrinal, practical, or controversial—and potential readership. The latter was distinguished in 1681 by the spiritual condition of readers—‘the unconverted’, ‘the faithful’, or ‘all sorts’—and in 1691 by educational level—’the ignorant’, or ‘students’.125 If we compare the six titles by Baxter in our sample with his own classification scheme, we find that all six were what he termed ‘practical’, and that two were ‘for all sorts’, while four were ‘for the unconverted’. Of those aimed at ‘all sorts’, one—The saints everlasting rest (1649)—Baxter thought was especially useful for students, and the other—The poor man's family book (1674), a mixture of dialogues, catechisms, and prayers—was deemed useful for the ignorant. Of those aimed at the unregenerate, two were thought to be of particular value for the ignorant: A call to the unconverted (1658) and Directions and perswasions to a sound conversion (1658). The other two—A sermon of judgement (1655), and Now or never (1662)—apart from being for the unconverted, had no other indication of potential readership. In short, with the exception of The saints everlasting rest, the works of Baxter's that sold best were among those he thought were best suited to the unregenerate and the ignorant. Conversely, none of Baxter's ‘doctrinal’ or ‘controversial’ works, or those aimed solely at readers already converted, sold well enough to make the sample. This last point would not have upset Baxter, who regularly made clear his preference for practical over (p.336) polemical works, and told his fellow ‘reformed pastors’ that ‘the matters of necessity are few’, and did not include controversial matters.126

His first success, The saints everlasting rest, had an unusual genesis. Begun as ‘my own funeral sermon’ when he was convinced that he was going to die young, he lived to add three more sections targeted at godly and ungodly separately and then together. The result was a work of over 800 quarto pages, prefaced in some editions by an engraved frontispiece showing the spiritual odyssey of a child, a knight, and a labourer, and with the occasional added chapter (as in 1651) with sharp comments on recent events in church and state.127 The breadth of the final work, together with the personal details and opinions, and the fervour of some passages on the brevity and uncertainty of man's life on earth and the joys that awaited the faithful in heaven, may help to explain its popularity in the 1650s, especially among disillusioned presbyterians: eight of the dozen or so editions had appeared by 1658. But given the date of its appearance the work is also notable for its author's determination to avoid controversies, and the dearth of high Calvinist preoccupations. There is certainly mention of the elect—a determined number predestined to everlasting rest—but Baxter equated these with ‘persevering believers’ and added a rider that these were ‘not so few as some drooping spirits deem’. Equally, Baxter did not talk of the reprobate, only of the ‘unregenerate’, the ‘ungodly’, and ‘sinners’, and those who had ‘forgotten’ Christ or ‘lost’ their ‘opportunities’ and ‘hopes’ of salvation.128

Baxter was also extrovert as much as introvert, and was not afraid to recruit man's rationality in the life of faith. When the marks of a prospective saint and the need to answer searching questions are raised, the marks described are outward-looking as much as inward—taking God for your chief good, and heartily accepting Christ as your only saviour and lord—and the questions are as often factual—‘Dost thou accept of Christ as thy only saviour …?’—as affective—‘Have both thy sin and misery been a burden to thy soul … and … couldst thou heartily groan under the insupportable burden of both?’129 There is also an implied role for human will-power and action, guided by the proper use of reason. God, the reader is told, would rather men accept Christ than rebel; hell is preached to persuade men to avoid it; but if they refuse to turn to Christ they deserve their dreadful fate: ‘Nothing but thy own unwillingness can keep thee from Christ’. ‘The works of a Christian here are very many and very great’, and it was entirely reasonable that in (p.337) seeking the saints’ rest our diligence ‘should be somewhat answerable to the greatness of the end’ at which we aim. The reader was also informed that ‘the greater are your layings out, the greater will be your coming in’, and how easy was the yoke and how light the burden in avoiding hellfire: ‘O gracious offer! O easy terms! O cursed wretch, that would not be persuaded to accept them!’ And where earlier authors had taught techniques of introspective analysis, Baxter (as we saw in Chapter 5) spent several chapters urging on his readers the benefits of meditation not only on the heavenly bliss of union with God but also on ‘sensible objects’ on the earth below—joyful experiences that might help them become ‘acquainted with God’ and thus secure ‘vigorous, real comfort’.130

A call to the unconverted and Directions and perswasions to a sound conversion, bothpublished in 1658, represented the first two stages of a larger project for a practical ‘directory for the several ranks of professed Christians’ which Baxter had been encouraged to write by the aged James Ussher, archbishop of Armagh.131 Baxter's original design was for a four-part work: the first (which became the Call) was ‘a wakening persuasive’ to ‘impenitent, unconverted sinners’; the second (the Directions) was for ‘those that have some purposes to turn, and are about the work’; the third was to help younger and weaker Christians persevere (this did not appear until 1669 and 1670 in works that did not get past the first edition); and the fourth (which was never written) was to help lapsed backsliders recover.132

The Call was dedicated to ‘all unsanctified persons that should read this book’, especially among his Kidderminster parishioners. Having given them God's message, Baxter said he would ‘leave it to these standing lines to convert you or condemn you’—a striking testimony to his high estimate of the potential of the printed word to change readers’ lives. At least part of Baxter's text would have been familiar to those who had read the works described earlier in this chapter: God's unchangeable law is that the wicked must die, and if men do not respond to his call, it is their fault, not God's. But in other respects, it was different. In the preface he pointed out that theological rivals such as Augustine and Pelagius and Calvin and Arminius could all agree that man had a measure of free will, though that will was badly corrupted by sin from the time of Adam; and he regularly spoke of men turning to God or responding to God's call as if they had some choice in the matter. He also implied that predestinarian teaching could harden men in their sins, and that if they were afflicted, they became discontented, while if they prospered, they forgot God. The Call became one of Baxter's two most popular works, converting ‘whole households’, and selling perhaps 30,000 copies by 1664, and (p.338) twenty-eight editions in less than forty years.133 It also, as noted above, allegedly sold over fifty editions from the 1660s to the 1680s in a greatly abridged version by T. P., probably Thomas Passinger the publisher. In this Baxter's 240 pages of roman text were reduced to twenty pages in black-letter type, and the few predestinarian comments were omitted, so that the message was boiled down to its absolute minimum: repent before it is too late.134 By comparison, part 2 of the planned ‘directory’—Directions and perswasions— was a typical ‘godly’ condemnation of ‘dead professions’, ‘half-conversions’, and ‘half-reformation’, and a list of directions on how to make a sound conversion, but perhaps predictably sold far fewer editions than part one.135

Another of Baxter's publications also had a chequered career. The original version of Now or never: the holy, serious, diligent believer justified, encouraged, excited and directed was a large, sober work that sold only moderately well. However, shorn of its central section (which had dealt with various objections to the serious practice of holiness), given a snappy new ‘Do-it-yourself’ title (Now or never: work out your salvation), and reduced to a ‘small treatise’ of twenty pages ofblack-letter text in which the reader was urged to lay hold on Christ now, today, it sold nearly thirty editions in just over twenty years (probably without Baxter's approval since he did not list it among his works).136 The popularity of the abbreviated versions of the Call and Now or never confirms the point made earlier, that the works by Baxter which sold best tended to be ones in which his practical bent and evangelical thrust were put to best use, whether this was by his own efforts unaided or other people's.137

Joseph Alleine was another extremely energetic pastor, whose great evangelistic zeal led him to plan a trip to China to act as a missionary there. In England, like his contemporary Baxter, he introduced a system of visiting and instructing families in the late 1650s, and his exposition of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is one of the catechetical titles in our sample.138 Also like Baxter in his Call, Alleine in An alarme to unconverted sinners (also known as A sure guide to heaven) addressed those not yet converted: ‘To all the ignorant, carnal, and ungodly, who are lovers of pleasure more than God, and seek this world more than the life everlasting, and live after the flesh and not after the spirit, these calls and counsels are directed in hope of their conversion to God, and of their salvation’.139 After stressing how far conversion was the work of God (p.339) rather than man, Alleine then devoted much of the text to attacking the complacency of the unregenerate, and when he discussed the actual process of conversion he offered a list of active verbs to describe what must be done, and a list of ‘motives’ such as ‘God doth most graciously invite thee’, ‘The doors of heaven are thrown open to thee’, and ‘The terms of mercy are brought as low as possible to you’. Alleine sought to distance himself from the ‘Arminian’ position that man's will, aided by grace, must acquiesce in his calling, but he seems to have had difficulty with some aspects of high Calvinist doctrine. As Professor Sommerville has commented, ‘a conditional tone in his own explanation of the calling is unmistakable.’140 As in Baxter's case, it was perhaps the evangelistic concern to awaken sinners rather than the strict letter of Calvinist law that came to the fore, or at least led to the greater sales of this work rather than others. In 1702, a fellow dissenter, Edmund Calamy, suggested that ‘twenty thousand [copies were] sold under the title of the “Call;”, or “Alarm;”, and fifty thousand … under the title of the “Sure guide to heaven”, thirty thousand of which were sold at one impression’, though the last of these figures is rather hard to swallow.141

John Bunyan was another who was clearly strongly influenced by Calvinist teaching. But if we draw a line between those works which sold particularly well, say eight to ten editions or more, and the rest, once again we find that it was for the most part the works in which he was least rigid in pushing the small number of the elect and the necessity of a broken heart which sold most copies. In some cases these more popular works were also ones in which there was either an element of innovation in the method of presentation or a personal dimension which did not lend themselves to overt or extended treatment of high Calvinist teaching: the dramatic exposition of the story of Dives and Lazarus in A few sighs from hell (1658), the ‘country rhymes for children’ in A book for boys and girls (1686), and above all the allegory in the two parts of The pilgrim's progress from this world to that which is to come (1678and1684).142 This innovativeness does not mean that Bunyan was not influenced by or did not intend to teach Calvinist ideas. In other especially popular works such as his ‘discourses’ entitled Come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ and Good news for the vilest of men, the treatment, while distinctively Bunyanesque in its structure and language, was not unconducive to teaching the older ideas, but he did not grasp the opportunity fully.

Come, and welcome was an exposition of a text—‘All that the Father givethme shall come to me’ (John 6: 37)—that was capable of sustaining a high (p.340) Calvinist view of a limited atonement, and for much of the time Bunyan treats it in that way. ‘All’ means all the ‘saved’, those that in other places are called the elect; ‘shall come’ means that Christ will put forth sufficient grace to perform this effectually, and they will ‘come’ weeping and ‘pricked in their hearts’; and so on.143 But, as Professor Greaves has noted, there is such an evangelical warmth and simplicity about the way that Bunyan does this, masking ‘the colder doctrine of predestination’ by a ‘warm and open invitation to Jesus’, that virtually any interested reader could find encouragement to regard himself as one of the elect who were coming to Christ.144 At one point Bunyan says: ‘Sinner, art thou thirsty? art thou weary? art thou willing? Come then … for all the good that is in Christ is offered to the Coming-Sinner.’ At another, he describes ‘blood-red sinners, crimson sinners, sinners of a double dye, dipped, and dipped again before they come to Jesus Christ’, and uses the medium of print to draw in the reader by asking:

Art thou that readest these lines, such an one? Speak out man, art thou such an one? and art thou now coming to Jesus … that thou mightest be made white in his blood …? Fear not; for as much as this thy coming betokeneth that thou art of the number of them that the Father hath given to Christ.145

Good news for the vilest of men (also known from its source text, Luke 24:47, as The Jerusalem-sinner saved) was the natural successor to Come, and welcome in its forceful evangelical appeal and encouragement to sinners: ‘Jesus Christ would have mercy in the first place offered to the biggest sinners’. The comments that Bunyan drew from his own experience, and the homely anecdotes and similes he used in it, may also help to explain the wide sales of this work.146 By comparison, two of Bunyan's works in which he focused in general terms on the dreadful consequences of being a ‘fruitless professor’ and the ‘excellency’, ‘nature, signs, and proper effects’ of a broken heart’—The barren fig-tree (1673) and The acceptable sacrifice (1689)—only just qualify for our sample.147

Works which had an element of the author's personal experience in them clearly sold better than those in which the author restricted himself mostly to the theory. While there was undoubtedly a hard core of readers who wished to buy weighty works of the ‘humbled heart’ or ‘rocky road’ variety, like Samuel Smith's Great assize or Matthew Mead's The almost Christian, book purchasers in general were more likely to go for works tackling unwelcome subjects, such as the sinfulness of man and the horrors awaiting the unrepentant, if their authors had stressed the blissful future awaiting true believers, or (p.341) added an element of personal experience or biographical detail, as in the case of Baxter's Saints everlasting rest, and Bunyan's Grace abounding and Good news, and in many of the edifying biographical sketches, allegories, and cautionary tales to which we will come in Chapter 7, and indeed some of the funeral sermons mentioned in Chapter 4 above.148 If spirituality was to be marketed successfully, it had to be presented in a guise that was as attractive as was compatible with the author's intentions.

ix. Cases of Conscience

The next category of practical treatise comprises a small group of titles that in theory falls into the net of the inner life of faith, but in practice often concerned matters of outward behaviour. At the time these were called ‘cases of conscience’, but in later centuries would be termed casuistry, a branch of moral theology. Moral theologians deal with the application of dogmatic theology to ethics and sin, and casuists try to establish general rules to help in cases where the conscience has to resolve a conflict of principles or laws, for example between the injunction in the Ten Commandments not to kill and the other injunctions in Old and New Testaments to obey a duly appointed civil authority which might involve taking up arms.149

In the early modern period, casuists in many European countries were actively engaged in trying to tease out the exact nature of citizens’ rights and duties, and what to do in business when there might be competing demands between charity and honesty on the one side and self-preservation and individual or collective prosperity on the other.150 Most casuists worked on the assumption that each individual had a conscience, one part of which had the power to understand and hold general principles of morality, while the other had the capacity to apply these principles to see if specific actions were right or wrong.151 In early modern England, however, a fair proportion of those problems described by authors as ‘cases of conscience’ often seem to have been nearer the mainstream of dogmatic theology, with knowledgeable pastors simply trying to explain to the weaker members of their flocks how to be a good Christian or to resolve some spiritual doubt, rather than attempting to reconcile conflicting principles. Much of what some authors tackled in works on ‘cases of conscience’ was also raised by others in a catechism or godly (p.342) living treatise when they were explaining the meaning of the Ten Commandments or the Apostles’ Creed at some length. Once again the boundaries between categories of publication are far from rigid.

Protestants of all persuasions soon identified the need for a moral theology of their own to match that of the Catholic church, which not only had a huge accumulation of principles and precedents (partly as a result of its increased emphasis on a system of confession and penance in the later Middle Ages), but also was reinforcing it in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, through the Jesuits in particular. English authors as diverse as the editor of William Perkins's ‘cases of conscience’, the scholarly exile William Ames, and the scholarly episcopalian Jeremy Taylor bemoaned the harm that arose from the absence of a suitable alternative, though it was explained that most Protestant leaders had been too busy fighting to purge the church and defend the true faith to compile such a book.152 And an even wider range of authors stressed how important some understanding of this ‘most useful’, ‘positive and practical’ branch of divinity was to all the faithful, but especially to ministers helping members of their flocks unable to sort out a problem of conscience for themselves.153 Recent accounts are in general agreement that the new Protestant casuistry owed a great debt to that of the Middle Ages, especially on the definition of conscience and the role of natural as well as divine law, but that by the seventeenth century a new hybrid, a ‘mixed strain’, had emerged. This was a result, on the one hand, of Protestant authors’ rejection of a great deal of medieval case-law, the system of confession and penance, and the distinction between mortal and venial sins, and, on the other, the Protestant advocacy of a reliance on the scriptures and the use of God-given reason to interpret it, and the role of individuals in searching their conscience and trying to resolve problems as far as they could.154 It is also agreed that while there were differences of emphasis within the English Protestant camp on some features of casuistical theology, there was a large element of common ground too, through authors’ shared concern to provide pastoral guidance and moral interpretation.155

Contemporary clergy handled cases of conscience in various contexts. William Perkins tackled them in his ‘holy-day lectures’ at Cambridge, and (p.343) Robert Sanderson in visitation sermons before the local parish clergy in Lincolnshire and other auditories elsewhere, including courtiers and students attending divinity lectures in Oxford; on Thursday nights in Kidderminster neighbours called on Richard Baxter in his home to discuss ‘what doubts any of them had about the sermon, or any other case of conscience’; and at Oxford, also in the 1650s, John Owen held ‘a regular office for the satisfaction of doubtful consciences’ (apparently described by younger students as the ‘scruple-shop’).156 Unfortunately the details of this oral counselling have been lost to us. The application of the bench-mark of five editions in thirty years also means that a number of published works on the subject fall outside our remit. These include some important but less substantial works, such as William Ames's De conscientia, eius jure et casibus,157 and also two much larger works: Jeremy Taylor's herculean attempt to provide the definitive Protestant treatise on the principles of moral theology and casuistry—the 1,100-page Ductor dubitantum (1660); and Richard Baxter's even larger work, A Christian directory (1673), written after he had left Kidderminster, and in which he triedto provide ‘a sum of practical theology and cases of conscience’, a ‘universal directory’ to help less experienced ministers, heads of households, and private Christians resolve any problems or doubts they met.158 The difficulty of the works by Ames and Taylor and the size of the work by Baxter may have contributed to their limited sales.

Of the seven works in our sample that may be described as ‘cases of conscience’, some were very precisely focused. In The resolving of conscience upon this question (1642), a royalist divine Henry Ferne tackled the question of whether subjects may take up arms against their lawful ruler, and came down heavily against the idea; the work sold well for a brief period.159 Robert Sanderson's De juramenti promissorii obligatione consisted of seven lectures on Numbers 30: 3 which he gave as Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford in 1646. His comments on the theory of the nature and obligation of oaths were backed up by careful handling of a series of specific cases, including how far one was bound to obey a new authority while one still owed obedience to another. Despite being published in the original Latin only, it sold consistently until the early eighteenth century, presumably among students of (p.344) theology and law.160 Another to tackle oaths was a leading London preacher, William Sherlock, who in The case of the allegiance due to soveraign powers (1691) posed the question ‘Is allegiance due to a prince settled on the throne?’ and explained why he himself had after much delay taken the oath of allegiance to William and Mary while still under oath to James II. Like the work by Ferne, this was also a pièce d'occasion, and passed through six editions in less than a year.161

This leaves four works of broader but contrasting character. William Perkins's The whole treatise of the cases of conscience, variously described by its editor as a ‘treatise’ and a ‘discourse’, was the product of lectures Perkins gave in Cambridge. The published version begins as a work of theory on the nature and working of the conscience, but then shifts to a series of questions of the introspective type that we have encountered regularly: what must a man do if he finds himself hard of heart, how can he apply Christ and his benefits to himself, how can be assured of salvation, and how can he obtain comfort for distress of conscience? The original first ‘book’ ended here, but later two more books were annexed. Book 2 consisted mostly of questions such as ‘Whether there be a God’, ‘Whether the scriptures be the true word of God’, and ‘How God is to be worshipped and served’, many of which were simply occasions to reinforce basic knowledge on a number of little contested areas rather than attempts to resolve thorny problems. Only occasionally was there a question of a moderately contentious kind, such as ‘What adoration is due to images?’ (none), ‘How far doth an oath bind?’, and ‘Whether we may not lawfully use recreations on the Sabbath day?’ Book 3 consisted of detailed treatment of five virtues—prudence, clemency, temperance, liberality, and justice—though again much of the material was simply didactic—how do we practice prudence, or forgiveness, or temperance in food and apparel, how do we give alms to please God?—rather than resolving doubts, though some questions had less self-evident answers, such as ‘How much relief must every man give?’ Compared to Ames, Sanderson, and Taylor on the theoretical side, and Hall and Baxter on the practical side, Perkins's treatise seems to be neither one thing nor the other: perhaps he was not well served by an editor who glued together three rather different sets of lectures. Nevertheless, as the first venture in this field in English it sold quite well until alternatives were available.162

Those alternatives were of various kinds. Much the most practical was Joseph Hall's Resolutions and decisions of divers practical cases of conscience which as the subtitle says tackled queries ‘in continual use among men’. At the time when this was first published Hall had been deprived of his bishopric, but the imprimatur from the parliamentarian censor, John Downame, praised the (p.345) work as a ‘profitable, necessary and … useful’ work, which ‘piously, learnedly and judiciously discussed and resolved’ a number of problems, and was not only the latest but the best book on the subject. Hall's cases were divided into four ‘decades’. One tackled ethical problems associated with commercial life: how much interest could be charged on a loan? how high a price set for goods? should prospective purchasers be told of faulty goods? The next looked at matters affecting life and liberty: when was taking a life legal? were duels permissible? is abortion allowed to save a mother's life? The third examined matters of piety and religion: was converse with evil spirits allowed? did men's laws bind the conscience? were tithes lawful? can a layman interpret the scriptures? And the fourth looked at matrimonial issues: could children marry without their parents’ consent? on what grounds was divorce permissible? could one marry one's cousin? Like other moral theologians, whether conformist or not, Hall pulled few punches both in his choice of questions and his answers, and the text was long, each case being given on average ten pages. But the work proved sufficiently popular for him to be pressed to make up ‘a complete body of case divinity, practical, speculative, and mixed’, of which there was a great need. He declined on the grounds of old age, but urged someone younger to take up the task.163

With Sanderson's De obligatione conscientiae (1660) we return to the theoretical side of casuistry—how the conscience is defined, and in what ways it operates. The course of lectures from which it derived was not finished, because in 1647 he was ejected from the chair of divinity at Oxford before he had completed them; but like his other set of Latin lectures, this work sold well for several decades, presumably with the same type of reader.164 Finally, with Joseph Alleine's Divers practical cases of conscience satisfactorily resolved (1672), we swing back to ‘cases’ of an introspective type—how much unwillingness to perform duties is consonant with the receipt of grace?—though many are more outward-looking or pietistic than before: what must a Christian do more than non-Christians? how can he please God? is any man able in this life to reach the example set by Christ? The work achieved moderately wide circulation, though less as an independent entity than as a supplement to Alleine's much more popular Alarme, with which it was published a number of times.165

Hall's hope that a younger man would write a definitive study of case divinity for general use was not realized. Sanderson had the ability and the reputation to write such a work, but perhaps his ejection discouraged him and then after 1660 episcopal duties prevented him; Jeremy Taylor opted to write more about the theory than specific everyday cases; while Baxter—who arguably came closest—did the reverse, by listing cases he had encountered rather than (p.346) laying down the rules to apply to ones that he had not; and by the eighteenth century moral theology and casuistry were changing their nature.166 Moreover, the limited sales for works of this kind may reflect the fact that few laymen wanted a large or technical volume on the theory of casuistry, or a survey of a large number of cases that were not the particular one that was bothering them at the time.167 It may also suggest that the market was largely confined to professionals with limited funds—ordinands and ministers. Despite some claims to the contrary,168 casuistry was not an everyday concern of the book-buying public.

x. Godly Living Handbooks in the Elizabethan and Early Stuart Periods

Treatises on the theme of godly living for the Protestant laity sold well throughout the two centuries after the Reformation, and compared to other types of treatise in many cases sold a higher than average number of copies. Indeed, the market for such works was already growing rapidly in the pre-Reformation period.

In Richard Whitford's Werke for householders (1530), for example, we have a work which included an exposition of basic religious formulae; forms of self-examination for sin; prayers, and meditations on Christ's life for use every day; and an insistence that parents and householders should be responsible for teaching their children and servants how to live well and for leading regular domestic worship. Prepared by a London-based monk who clearly felt that he knew the religious lives of the citizens well, the Werke was in sufficient demand to require ten editions in eight years.169 As recent commentators have noted, however, there are various ways in which Whitford's work, and others written in the vernacular for a primarily lay audience, anticipated those of the Protestants. Whitford's observation that ‘it should … be a good pastime and much meritorious for you that can read to gather your neighbours about you on the holy day, especially the young sort, and read to them this poor lesson’ could, with minor alterations (such as the deletion of the reference to merit) be matched by Protestant emphasis on reading edifying works, especially on the sabbath.170

Among the first Protestant works to appear was The governance of vertue [1540?] which was dedicated to Jane Seymour by Thomas Becon, a minister (p.347) in Kent and London; this was reprinted six times by the late 1570s. Designed to teach ‘all faithful Christians, how they ought daily to lead their life, and fruitfully to spend their time unto the glory of God and the health of their own souls’, and drawing on humanist as well as medieval ideas, this work offered advice on what to do when rising, eating, and so on throughout the day until the point when the Christian undressed and went to bed.171 Thereafter a great deal more advice was offered, together with suitable scripture texts and examples, on avoiding worldly sins such as swearing, keeping evil company, gluttony, adultery, and malice, and guarding against temptations of a spiritual kind, such as idolatry, believing in the merit of our own works, and being dissuaded from reading the Bible. Becon's overt hostility to a number of Catholic practices mark this work out from its Catholic predecessors, just as his warning of the dangers of denying the Gospel and persecuting the ‘godly’, and his concern for ‘carnal security’ among the regenerate and despair at a late conversion mark it out to some extent from many later Protestant ones.172 In many respects Becon's was very much a product of when it was written and revised, and the decline in its popularity after the 1570s probably reflects both this and the appearance of alternatives by the turn of the century.

Among the latter, an obvious example is Robert Cleaver's A godly form of householde government (1598) which provided meticulously detailed advice on the‘ordering of private families, according to the direction of God's word’. This covered both piety—going to church as a household unit, reading the scriptures, ensuring that children could rehearse the Creed and Decalogue, and praying to God—and secular matters—taking care in one's calling, avoiding lewd pastimes, advice on what kind of husband or wife to choose, and the mutual duties of married couples, parents and children, and servants and masters. With this may be paired Dod and Cleaver's Plain and familiar exposition of the ten commandements (1603), which was published when they were suspended from preaching in their Oxfordshire livings, and which covered much of the same ground in the case of commandments such as the second and fourth and the second table generally.173 Unusually long and published in roman type from the start, these works probably had most appeal for those with the money to buy and the time and inclination to study them. Some of the detail on domestic practice, such as edifying conversation with other members of the faithful, is distinctively ‘godly’, but the overall structure and a fair proportion of the detail is much the same as in Lancelot Andrewes's exposition of (p.348) the Decalogue and later on Jeremy Taylor's Holy livingand Richard Allestree's The whole duty of man: there were differences but within a continuum.174 Asomewhat different work is Perkins's Whole treatise of the cases of conscience, which (as we have seen) was a composite work, partly dealing with questions of faith and obedience, and partly tackling matters such as reading the scriptures, how to worship God, hearing sermons, taking the sacraments, fasting, sabbath observance, temperance in dress, food, apparel and recreation, liberality, and so on.175 A much livelier work, in the form of a dialogue but with many rules, prayers, and meditations for different times of the day was Richard Bernard's A weekes worke. And a worke for every weeke (1614), published just after he had moved from his Nottinghamshire living to one in Somerset.176

But by then a much more formidable rival had appeared: Lewis Bayly's The practise of pietie, directing a Christian how to walke that he may please God (1612). This is often held up as a typical, even archetypal, ‘puritan’ work in the tradition of the works of Becon, Cleaver, and Dod already mentioned.177 To describe Bayly as ‘a moderate puritan prelate’ is perhaps fair: he was prepared to denounce what he saw as ‘popery’ in high places under James I, allegedly ordained ministers who refused to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles, held strict views on keeping the sabbath holy, and to judge from his best-selling treatise preferred to cite the Bible rather than the Fathers. He was also a firm believer in the different fates of those predestined to salvation and those foreordained to hellfire, and expected the end of the world imminently; and his concern that people should not put off the moment of repentance for a single moment helped to persuade the young John Bunyan to reform his ‘vicious life’.178

On the other hand Bayly was not a typical puritan and his handbook does not sit altogether comfortably in any one camp. Bayly was a sufficiently good courtier to gain and keep the royal favour, and managed (as one observer has put it) ‘to survive accusations which would have ruined most other people’, including immorality, simony, and other forms of dishonesty. He also devoted much space in The practise of pietie to urging conformity to the established church, defended the practice of private confession to a priest and the ringing of church bells on Sunday, condemned those who would not kneel or take off their hats in church, and devoted one of his longest sections to preparing (p.349) readers for participating in the Lord's Supper, in the course of which he used impassioned language of a kind not often found elsewhere in the book. While he believed in predestination, he also devoted two pages to biblical instances proving that God never denied his mercy to any man who was truly repentant. All of this may help to explain why in the 1640s, after nearly forty editions had appeared in England alone in twenty-eight years, there was apparently an attempt by those then in power to suppress the work.179 This was not successful, and new editions of the work continued to be published almost every other year until well into the eighteenth century. It was also translated into Welsh and many other languages, such as German, French, Hungarian, Romanian, and Italian, and is thought to have been not without influence in the rise of pietism in Holland and Germany: nearly seventy editions of a German edition of Bayly's work had been published by 1750.180

Why did a work described by one modern reader as ‘long and shapeless’ and neither inspiring nor affecting, prove so popular?181 One possible reason is that it came to be recommended to a wide range of readers: from princes and gentry to young children who had only just learnt to read.182 A second is that some editions were printed in very cheap editions with the text crammed on to a twenty-fourmo or thirty-twomo page, instead of the usual duodecimo, to keep prices down.183 A third is that for once its very length may have helped it sell. At an early stage Bayly enlarged the work due to ‘the importunities of many devoutly disposed’ anxious for more material on certain points, and the result was a work which regularly filled 800 pages of text. But that text included a wide range of material presented in such different ways that the result was half a dozen works rolled up into one: a book of instruction; a manual of devotions and meditations; a pre-communion treatise; a work on preparing to make a good death; a short polemical section on the main errors of the ‘papists’; and an uplifting ‘colloquy’ or ‘soliloquy’ between the soul and her saviour. Perhaps it was not meant to be read from cover to cover, but dipped into at need.

At the outset there was basic instruction about the properties and works of God and the Trinity, and explanations of how certain scripture passages had been misinterpreted. There were large numbers of meditations containing much exegetical material on specific themes, and prayers and meditations of differing lengths for different occasions during the day. Like other authors, Bayly also listed possible hindrances to the practice of piety and indicated (p.350) how they could be overcome. He also offered detailed advice on bible reading to ensure that the whole was read through once a year, and on family prayers. There was a ‘religious discourse’ to be read on Sundays, and much other advice on how the sabbath should be spent (as in the expositions of the fourth commandment cited above). There was instruction on how to behave at different points of the service in church, on fasts and feasts, and how to make a long, thorough preparation for worthy reception of communion.

There was then a very long section on sickness and death, comprising over a quarter of the book. The advice here was a mixture of the practical and the spiritual: detailed advice on how to draw up a will and where to keep it, and telling visitors not to stand and stare or make unhelpful comments. On the other hand, much the greatest stress was on the spiritual preparation of the invalid, aided by the prayers and exhortations of relations and visitors. This involved self-examination for sin and repentance; when necessary, private confession to a godly pastor who had ‘a power, and authority (upon repentance) to absolve thee from thy sins’; and the taking of communion on the deathbed. There were two final sections: a list of the chief errors of the Church of Rome, as in the polemical treatises we noted in Chapter 4; and a ‘divine colloquy’ or ‘soliloquy’ in which the soul, ‘ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord’, constantly compares man's sinfulness with Christ's perfection, in language which could be compared to that of the meta-physical poets of the day.184

To judge from the first editions, the work had initially been targeted at adults, and relatively prosperous ones at that. The woodcut on the title-page of many early editions contained some typical and some less usual religious motifs of the day, but was topped by the depiction of a ‘pious man’ in a fur-trimmed cloak kneeling between on the left side a desk or table (marked ‘Read’) with a book and candle on it, and on the right a symbolic altar (marked ‘Pray’). The amount of time Bayly expected his readers to spend on their knees or reading the Bible (three chapters a day); his condemnation of the evil example set by some great persons being a handicap to others’ practice of piety; his exhortation to readers to give alms freely and without grudging to the poor; the description of religion as ‘the best building and surest entailing of house and land to a man and his posterity’; and the often erudite or academic tone of some of the didactic passages and the use of roman rather than black-letter type—all suggest an expected audience of gentry or perhaps the richer citizens of All Saints, Evesham, to whom Bayly gave the sermons which may have formed the basis of parts of the treatise.185 Felicity Heal and Clive Holmes note that Bayly's work appears regularly on the book lists of the gentry, and cite different examples of its use: a father (p.351) recommending his son to read and meditate on it; a husband reading part of it to his wife during her dying moments; a husband bequeathing a copy to an errant wife in hope that she might reform.186 But in fact, different sections may have appealed to different kinds of readers, and not just the gentry or middling sort or older Christians. Perhaps Canon Stranks has the key: ‘The vast numbers who read The practise of pietie did so because it represented the kind of life they thought a good man should lead. They might not themselves attempt to carry it out in all its particulars, but it coloured their view of what character ought to be.’187

xi. Godly Living Handbooks in the Later Seventeenth Century

Two handbooks that would prove extremely popular in later Stuart England were both first published in the 1650s: Jeremy Taylor's The rule and exercises of holy living (1650), which had passed through about twenty-one editions by the 1730s, and Richard Allestree's The whole duty of man (1658), of which over eighty editions may have been published in its first seventy years.188

Holy living had been written in an isolated if aristocratic environment—theseat of the earl of Carbery in Wales to which Taylor had drifted from civil war Oxford after the king's defeat—and with the support of the earl's second wife, who in addition to coping with a shiftless husband and ten children was a daily attender at the services held by Taylor, and an avid student of religious and secular works. Not surprisingly, then, Holy living began with an appeal to the gentry whose inactivity Taylor (like Edward Hyde and other loyalists) felt had helped bring about the disasters of the late 1640s, and with a denunciation of the decline of religion into something which was ‘painted upon banners’ (in the parliamentarian army) ‘and thrust out of churches’. In the text he provided supporters of the old church who had lost the services of its clergy with a medium-sized handbook (400 pages of duodecimo) describing ‘the means and instruments of obtaining every virtue’ and ‘resisting all temptations’, and offering prayers ‘containing the whole duty of a Christian’.189 After a statement of basic doctrines on God and man, there follow four sections: on the proper use of our time, the duty of the soul towards itself, duties towards others, and (the longest of all) duties to God.

A great deal of Taylor's handbook has parallels with earlier works: the suitable devotions for morning, noon, and evening, and other occasions (found in (p.352) both godly living treatises and manuals of devotions); the stress on temperance, humility, being content with one's lot, forgiving others, and making amends to one's neighbour for any wrong done, and on performing the duties owed to those above, below, and level with one in society (found in many catechetical expositions of the Decalogue and treatises on Christian conduct); and the exhortations to read the Bible, hear sermons, read good books, fast, pray, take the Lord's Supper, give alms, help provide education, and so on (found in a wide range of works on godly living). The great length of many (though not all) of the prayers and the complex ideas handled therein, the assumption that his reader had time to pray and read and money to give to the poor, the detailed section on business ethics, together with the usually high standards of production of the printed version, also suggest that this work, like Bayly's, was targeted at the upper and middling ranks of society.190

What marks Taylor's work out from previous ones is partly what he does not say. Compared to the high Calvinist preoccupation with signs of election and expectation of agonized wrestlings with conscience, or with the spiritual raptures or mysticism of some contemporary Catholic authors, Taylor's version of the Christian life is one of constant prayer and edification, in which even everyday employment or public duties are devoted to the service of God. Taylor is also determined to see the positive side of the divine providence: what God has done for us, and how we should take delight in serving him. Where Bayly had included double predestinarian teaching before softening its harder edges in his subsequent sections of practical advice, Taylor simply omitted it, though whether this makes him a semi-Pelagian or merely one of those anxious to stem what they saw as a tide of antinomianism is another matter.191 On the other hand, compared to ‘godly’ authors, at least after the 1620s, he also had predictably more to say about obeying the king and respecting the clergy—sentiments which probably did no harm to further sales of the work once the monarchy had been restored in 1660.192

It has been suggested that Taylor also said more about the sins of the flesh while nonconformists said more about sins of the mind. This is a little surprising given the strictures of the ‘godly’ and later dissenters against drunkenness and sexual incontinence.193 There is also the counter-view that moral casuistry was Taylor's special forte and his advice was widely sought on such matters, and (p.353) that what a later age might mistake for coarseness or prurience would probably have been seen by contemporaries as frankness or plain speaking.194 Certainly the relative weight he gave to these sins should not obscure the simplicity of his message in general and the beauty of some of the sections, for example on the love of God. Moreover, few works of a comparable nature came close to Taylor's in terms of regular sales in the second half of our period, which may reinforce the point made by one historian that ‘simple moral guidance sells much better than original thought on matters of doctrine’.195

The same may be said of The whole duty of man which it is now generally accepted was written by an Oxford academic, Richard Allestree, and which was so frequently reprinted that according to one calculation enough copies had been published by the end of Anne's reign for every tenth household to have owned a copy. The need to stop pirate editions in England and later Ireland, and the drawing up of at least two greatly shortened versions of it and one in questions and answers, are other indications of the interest in and demand for this work.196 Copies have been found in the libraries of churchmen, students, aristocrats, gentry, merchants, and an eighteenth-century Virginia planter; it figured in the famous quarrel between Queen Anne, and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough; it was the last reading of a condemned murderer as he was drawn to Tyburn; and the mature Samuel Johnson could remember being ‘confined’ at home by his mother to read it on Sundays.197 Originally entitled ‘The practice of Christian graces’, The whole duty of man was designed as a ‘short and plain direction to the very meanest readers’ to show them how ‘to behave themselves so in this world that they may be happy for ever in the next’. It was divided into seventeen chapters (on duties to God, to ourselves, and our neighbours) to facilitate the reading of a chapter a week so that the whole book could be read through three times a year, and supported by 100 pages of prayers which on the whole are shorter and simpler than those in the handbooks already discussed. Allestree's book was widely recommended by bishops and parish clergy after the Restoration, and also by dissenters such as Richard Baxter and Thomas Gouge; and it was admired by churchmen as diverse as the poet Thomas Traherne, a puritan turned conformist John Rawlet, the nonjuror John Kettlewell, the founder of the Methodists John Wesley, and the Evangelical Charles Simeon.198 One recent (p.354) assessment suggests that ‘its clear delineation of Christian virtues and systematic devotional apparatus are undoubtedly one explanation for the success and longevity of this manual’, and also argues that its ‘commonsensical, non-controversial, brand of theology’ was typical of that of the late seventeenth-century church.199 Another (by an author inclined to be critical of ‘Anglican’ works) concedes that ‘as a compendium of advice on moral conduct and social relations, the book would scarcely have been objectionable to any group except the more egalitarian Quakers’, and that its treatment of most topics was ‘systematic and sensible’.200

What some in later generations would see as a deficiency in its teaching on justification by faith and on grace has to be viewed in context. Allestree wanted to reinforce rather than replicate the teaching in the church's official formularies, which were clear on these scores. He was also extremely anxious to turn back the tidal waves of sin which many by the 1650s felt were threatening to engulf them, and to redress the balance between faith and piety which extreme Calvinists were thought (rightly or wrongly) to have tilted away from piety.201 Moreover, like many other later Stuart episcopalians Allestree was anxious to remind his readers that they had been admitted into the covenant of grace at baptism, and had to try to keep their side of the covenant and to renew it at regular intervals through communion. Also in practice, like other so-called ‘moralists’ of the period, Allestree constantly mentioned the need for the help of divine grace if a Christian was to perform his duties.202 Allestree was probably also keying into the still vigorous humanist tradition of moral philosophy and the ‘courtesy books’ and literature on conduct and civility.203

Allestree's best-seller represents a clear attempt to reach a wider audience than many previous works. The frequent references to the ‘meanest reader’, those of ‘meanest intellect’, and ‘the simplest man living’, the generally simpler, non-technical language and practical directions, and the provision of shorter devotions, especially for the artificer at work and the husbandman at the plough, all suggest that the author had taken on board the need for a work that would be more accessible than those of Bayly or Taylor.204 The work is also given a ‘modern’ feel by the greater role attached to the use of reason in (p.355) religious matters. If a man applies‘the same rules of common reason, whereby he proceeds in his worldly business’, he will be able to understand what his Christian duty is, and the attractiveness of that duty is suggested by describing the unattractiveness of its opposite, for example the damaging effects of excessive drinking and keeping good fellowship.205

At the same time it is still a conservative document. The move towards greater accessibility for slow readers was far from complete; the stress on regular periods of prayer, self-examination, and study, not just on Sundays but weekdays as well, still reflected expectations of what the average reader could provide in the way of time, space, privacy, and even the candle-power to read, that were perhaps unrealistic; the appeal to reason and self-interest was only a more explicit form of the appeal implicit in older sermons and treatises which listed series of ‘motives’ for believing every point of doctrine or practising every Christian duty; and a great deal of the advice on spiritual and worldly behaviour could be found in the pages of Becon or Bayly, albeit here expressed more briefly. To judge from its sales, the references to its use, and the examples of its being given to confirmation candidates, The whole duty of man may well have established a socially more diverse readership than that of comparable earlier works, especially as a gift to the young or deserving poor, but it by no means represented the end of the road in the attempt to get the message across to the ‘meanest reader’.206

The position reached by this work can be readily appreciated if we compare it with a handful of other works which all sold at least a dozen editions (in some cases several more) in the period from the 1650s or the Restoration to the 1720s. Two of these tend to reinforce the impression that there was still a market for older style works, albeit not exactly the same as before, while the others show movement towards a different approach.

The first two were works by Allestree again: The gentlemans calling, which may have sold over two dozen editions between 1660 and 1717, and The ladies calling, perhaps sixteen editions between 1673 and 1727. Both were clearlyaimed at a minority audience, perhaps including those of middling rank who wished to emulate the gentry as well as the landed elite themselves, and both have intriguing illustrations opposite the title-pages. In the first, ‘reputation’ is represented by a prince surrounded by courtiers, ‘nobility’ by a coroneted figure holding a coat of arms, and ‘justice’ by a blindfold female figure holding a set of scales, while ‘religion’ is depicted as a female figure holding aloft a bible and treading down death, represented by a skeleton; and the sort of books a gentleman might read are indicated by a bookshelf with sections for ‘Divinity’, ‘Morality’, and ‘History’. In the companion volume, a seated lady (p.356) is shown reaching up for a crown of glory while her jewellery lies scattered at her feet. The message of the first was that those blessed with such advantages as education, wealth, opportunity, and authority should use those gifts wisely and in a Christian fashion, not only for their own sakes but also for those less favourably placed than themselves. The second tried to defend the reputation of women from the criticisms often levelled against them, urged on them the general importance of the woman's role, for example in the family, and the particular virtues of modesty, meekness, compassion, affability, and piety; it also offered more specific advice for ‘virgins’, ‘wives’, and ‘widows’.207 These works probably reflect the recent concern at declining standards of behaviour among the social elite, but at the same time hark back to an earlier age of concern for reputation, ‘noblesse oblige’, and paternalistic chauvinism. Their sales (as of similar works by other authors and works on civility) probably reflects the acceptability of these ideas to some book buyers, even if it was only among those who bought copies to give to others to read.208

The other works are very different. Apples of gold for young men and women by the London preacher, Thomas Brookes, sold perhaps more than twenty editions between 1657 and 1717, and though it also offered ‘a crown of glory for old men and women’ was one of that growing body of works designed especially for the young. The author hoped the treatise would be pleasurable to read and also a means of winning souls to Christ; and the ‘doctrines’ he provided as headings (for example, that it was commendable for the young to be good, though they were prone to certain sins) were supported both by reasons and a flood of lively stories and allusions, culled from the Bible, the classics, mythology, and nature, and often presented in an anecdotal fashion. A later nonconformist would refer to Brookes's ‘many homely phrases and sometimes too familiar resemblances, which to nice critics might appear ridiculous’, but conceded that any means of winning souls deserved a chance.209 A similar work by another Bartholomew victim, Thomas Gouge—The young man's guide, through the wilderness of this world—had a similar intent: to urge children, apprentices, and young persons to remember their creator in the days of their youth, but although much shorter than Brookes's work was not nearly as lively, and sold only six editions in over sixty years.210

Gouge's Christian directions, shewing how to walk with God all the day long sold much better, perhaps thirteen editions between 1661 and 1734; and what was significant here was perhaps less the content (which was very much in the tradition of Becon, Bayly, and Allestree) than the presentation (much shorter chapters) and the fact that publication of this work was matched by realism (p.357) on the ground. Gouge ensured that every family in his London parish was given a copy, and exulted in the fact that not only could those in more prosperous families read, but also that all poor children in the parish were ‘taught to read and write gratisby such schoolmasters and schoolmistresses who teach them their catechism’ whose salaries were paid by contributions raised from the better-off in the parish. Where Allestree and indeed many more before him had assumed literacy or encouraged those who could read to teach others to do the same, Gouge actually got down to organizing the teaching of literacy and the providing of good books to be read in the home—a move made by other later Stuart clergymen, and an anticipation of the Charity School and Sunday School movements of the eighteenth century.211

The last title in this group is the moderate John Rawlet's The Christian monitor which ran a moderately close second to The whole duty of man for the number of editions published from the mid-1680s to the late 1720s. It also seems to have been published in much larger print runs than normal, of 5,000 copies each, if we can believe the claim in the twentieth edition (in 1696) that 95,000 copies had already been sold.212 The reasons for this are not hard to see. The work was, as the title-page proclaimed—justifiably for once—‘written in a plain and easy style’. It was also much the shortest of the godly living treatises considered so far—only fifty pages of octavo—having been designed from the outset that it ‘may more easily be read and remembered by such as have neither time to read large books, nor money to buy them’, whom Rawlet said he often met in his large urban parish in Newcastle.213 It would, he hoped, be ‘scattered abroad upon pedlars’ stalls and thence come into the hands of the common people … rather than be solemnly laid up and buried in the libraries of the learned’. Normally sold at 3d., it was also sold in job lots of 100 copies for a pound, or just over 2d. each, to ‘those that are charitably disposed’ to give them away, a number of whom had apparently encouraged Rawlet to go ahead and publish his work.214

It was also written by a man with some sympathy for the poor: he had himself been so short of funds that he could not complete his degree course at university. He was anxious to tell his readers that ‘God is no respecter of persons. Christ died for poor men as well as rich’, and that those who were heirs to nothing on earth may be heirs of the heavenly kingdom if they be rich in faith and love (though he added a warning later that the poor should not think that they would be saved ‘merely because you are poor’). He urged householders to attend church regularly with as many of their family ‘as can (p.358) possibly be spared’ from their other duties, and told them not to avoid coming to church because they did not have proper clothes or could not afford to put anything into the collection.215 Rawlet's plans for the rich to help pay for the education of poor children and to provide all poor households with cheap copies of the Bible, a Book of Common Prayer, and The whole duty of man, at less than 5s. a house, also represent a stage towards the raising of standards of literacy as well as providing books as a means of promoting knowledge of God and religion, and preventing the spread of‘brainsick opinions and false principles’.216

For Rawlet also occupied a middle position between conformity and dissent in that he was a protégé of Baxter's but became a conformist. So it was the services of the church ‘as by law established’ that people were urged to attend, not the assemblies of the ‘papists’ or ‘sectaries’; it was the church's communion that he encouraged them to attend to renew their baptismal vow; and it was the Prayer Book catechism that he cited to support his argument, and the Prayer Book communion service he recommended people to read if they had no other good books to hand, such as a bible or copy of The whole duty of man. (Like Allestree, he also leant to the view that God had given man reason ‘chiefly to fit him for religion’, and like Allestree and Jeremy Taylor argued that the truly faithful could be content even in the greatest adversity.)217 But Rawlet preached the message that God had sent his son into the world ‘to seek and save us sinners’ and that the office of the Holy Ghost was ‘to sanctify us, and all the elect people of God’, and put it across with an evangelistic fervour for securing genuine repentance which, rightly or wrongly, is associated particularly with ‘godly’ and dissenting authors. ‘Will you not be moved by all that Christ has done and suffered for you?’, he asked; ‘Will you tread under foot his most precious blood, and even crucify him afresh?’ And the prayer for grace he annexes to the end of the treatise begins ‘O God, I am a vile sinner’.218

There is a further handful of titles in our sample that could be classified as godly living treatises, but which did not sell nearly as well as those just described. The presbyterian Richard Alleine's Vindiciae pietatis (1660) was in part a ‘vindication of godliness’, and in part ‘directions for the attaining and maintaining of a godly life’, directed at both godly and ungodly. Its vocabulary and style are relatively simple, but the work is quite long and the structure reflects the work's origins as sermons rather than a specialist treatise.219 Practical Christianity; or, an account of the holiness which the Gospel enjoins (1677) by Richard Lucas, a Welsh schoolmaster soon to be promoted to livings in (p.359) London, was designed as a treatise in ‘an easy method and familiar style’, and in 300 pages he combined a detailed description of Christian duty with ‘motives’ to leading a holy life, and suitable prayers at the end of each section. But he sometimes lapsed into quite long, demanding sentences and could be patronizing towards the ‘multitudes of people of a lower rank and capacity’.220 The happy ascetick (1681) by Anthony Horneck (the German-born and educated preacher at the Savoy who also wrote two pre-communion works in the sample) was a substantial ‘discourse’, and though colourfully written was also probably again aimed at moderately well-educated readers. It was intended to call men away from the shadow to the substance of religion, and listed fifteen ‘ordinary exercises of godliness’—such as regular prayer, studying humility, and doing all things to God's glory—and four extraordinary ones—solemn vows, fasting, vigils, and ‘self-revenge’.221 The measures of Christian obedience (1681) by a conservative divine, John Kettlewell, was also designed as a practical treatise to promote piety and a peaceful conscience in ‘the plain and unlearned reader’ who knew no learned languages, by showing ‘what obedience is indispensably necessary to a regenerate state’. However, from its great length (over twice that of Lucas and half as long again as Horneck), the use of ‘learned languages’ in the marginal notes, its polished style, and occasionally abstruse vocabulary, it would appear that the ‘truly pious soul’ for whom Kettlewell had first written this book was again a moderately well-educated person with some leisure.222 Similarly, The Christian life (1681) by a London rector, John Scott, might be advertised as being ‘fitted to the several states of Christians’, but the author could not stop his pen running away with him, and ended up writing five large volumes on the subject, in which he often did not bother to translate the Latin and Greek terms or verse that he cited. His aim of proving that ‘the practice of every virtue is an essential part of the Christian life, and a necessary means to the blessed end of it’, his provision of long prayers for those who could retire to their ‘closet’ in the morning, his obvious dedication to the Church of England, and his somewhat orotund style meant that at least the opening three volumes proved moderately popular in some circles in the closing decades of the seventeenth century.223 The reason why these titles, and others stressing the advantages of pursuing a godly life and the reasonableness of Christianity,224 did not sell as well as those of Taylor, Allestree, and Rawlet are fairly self-evident: either their readerships were more limited, or there were technically better or more suitable and often cheaper works on offer.

(p.360) xii. Godly Dying Handbooks in the Elizabethan and Early Stuart Periods

Our final group of ‘practical’ works consists of a smaller set of works, on godly dying, which in many ways mirror or reinforce what has been said already in this chapter. The literary tradition of the ars moriendi or ‘art of dying well’ seems to have been a late medieval creation. In the fifteenth century we find Gerson advising priests and those caring for the poor and sick how to help others to die ‘well and surely’; a longer Tractatus, which circulated quite widely in manuscript and was translated into English as the [Boke of the] Crafte of dyinge; and a shorter work consisting of woodcuts and text showing the less-educated laity how to resist the temptations which might otherwise lead them to hell.225

While some aspects of the Crafte were not acceptable to most early Protestants, such as confession to a priest, reception of the eucharist, and extreme unction, others were: the condemnation of the idea of earning salvation, and the stress on a belief in Christ's redemptive powers; the dangers (first stated by the Fathers) of delaying repentance until one was on one's deathbed; and the provision of prayers for the sick person and others present to say.226 Thus, as Nancy Lee Beaty has pointed out, Thomas Becon's Sycke mans salve (which sold twenty-five editions between c.1560 and 1632) had a number of parallels with earlier works in the ars moriendi tradition: a stress on the brevity of man's life on earth; death being a departure of the pilgrim from this vale of misery, and a schoolmaster to the living; God's saving grace in Christ being assured to those with true faith; and the provision of a large number of prayers.227 However, Becon's work was far longer, and he used the extra space not only to engage in rabidly anti-Catholic diatribes, but also to introduce material from the Bible and the classical-humanist tradition, and to develop a Calvinist emphasis on the divine plan of salvation, including the need to obtain assurance of election. As a recent observer has noted, the work creates a ‘daunting impression of the knowledge and faith expected of the dying Protestant’.228

What also strikes a modern reader about Becon's work is the form he chose and his intended target. It is not a long moralizing essay or technical treatise, but a long dialogue between a number of characters with appropriate Latin names such as ‘Theophilus’ and ‘Epaphroditus’ who range over a wide range of matters of both a practical kind (making a will, taking leave of family and friends, and preparing for a funeral) and a spiritual (coping with affliction, temptation, and doubts, making a confession of faith). However, although the (p.361) sick man is the centre of the story that unfolds, a great deal of the material, and indeed the whole idea of an edifying dialogue to be read in private, is aimed at encouraging Becon's readers to lead better lives so that they might make a blessed end. Becon also portrays ‘Epaphroditus’ as a rich man, capable of leaving £400 to the poor, £100 each to Oxford and Cambridge, £6 8s. 4d. to each of his servants, and money for a funeral sermon and funeral gowns for thirty poor men and women and thirty poor children. He had also apparently been brought up a Protestant, in that he is told that his baptism is a ‘sure token of the favour of God towards you’ and that he is predestinated to salvation, and that his coming to the Lord's Supper with a desire for communion is also a token that he is elect.229 The length of the work and of many individual speeches, the fairly demanding character of many of the prayers, and the use of Latin names for the characters all suggest that (as in many of his other works) Becon conceived a reader who was both well educated and anxious to tackle such a work. Its quasi-dramatic form and the lack of a specific alternative until the last few years of Elizabeth's reign probably help to explain its appeal.

The nearest to an alternative before the last few years of the sixteenth century were the section on the ‘day of death’ in part 1 and the chapter against ‘delay of resolution’ in part 2 of the godly living treatise written by Parsons and revised by Bunny. The first of these sections contains a lively account of the torments of the deathbed as an inducement to meditate on one's sins and resolve to leave the vanities of this world, which Bunny revised without changing its central thrust—perhaps a little surprisingly since he was presumably of the opinion that Catholic teaching on attrition was erroneous.230 The second was subject to greater excisions and modifications (to Parsons's great disgust), perhaps because as a Calvinist Bunny did not want to overstate the evils of deathbed repentance: in general it could not be condemned strongly enough, but since God moved in mysterious ways a deathbed conversion for one of the elect was not totally impossible.231 Nevertheless, Bunny's choice of Parsons's work and the limited changes he made to it in his own version may represent a recognition of the need for a greater emphasis on the affective elements in Christian devotion than had existed in some earlier Calvinist works.232

At the very end of the sixteenth century, three works appeared which were more obvious contributions to a holy dying tradition and which would to a large extent supplant Becon: William Perkins's A salve for a sicke man (1595), Gabriel Powel's The resolved Christian (1600), and Christopher Sutton's Disce mori: learne to dye (1600). For his treatise Perkins chose the same title as Becon, buthis work is both much shorter and more conservative in being built round a (p.362) specific text. Perkins tried to describe ‘the nature, differences, and kinds of death, as also the right manner of dying well’ and offered advice and meditations for those who were seriously ill. But much of his concern was to urge the necessity of preparing daily for death on those who ran the risk of dying suddenly, such as sailors, soldiers, and women in childbirth, and on others who were neither old nor sick.233 At one point he deplored what he called the lately developed habit, ‘very common in this age’ even among those who had been in the bosom of the church for many years, that when people ‘lie sick and are drawing toward death they must be catechized in the doctrine of faith and repentance’, which just showed how little notice they had taken of those teachings previously. We know from his other writings, such as his catechism, that Perkins was worried about what he saw as the popular preference for deathbed repentance, and must assume that the treatise was designed to combat that, though the publishing of the text in roman type and later editions in quarto and folio may have limited the range of readers somewhat. In this context, it is instructive that the surviving deathbed accounts which reflect both the sequence and the details in Perkins's Salvemostly come from prosperous and even aristocratic households, and that in many cases a ‘godly’ minister was present.234

Powell's work is less easy to categorize, perhaps partly because he was still very young when he wrote it. The focus of part one is on the certainty of death and the uncertainty of when it will come, and why men fear death and what remedies were available for such fears. Some space is given to encouraging patience and offering advice to those who were sick, but the work was also intended ‘to recall the worldling, to comfort the faint-hearted, [and] to strengthen the faithful’: those who were not mortified by their sins were ‘no fit inhabitants for the heavenly Jerusalem’.235 However, the second half of the book was designed specifically for those sentenced to death, with different sections for those who were ‘unpenitent and obstinate’, ‘penitent’ and ‘broken-hearted’, fearful of death, or wrongly condemned to death.236 The concern for condemned criminals ties in with what we know about the concern of Protestant clergy to try to reclaim their souls, and also with the genre of popular works that combined a lurid account of malefactors’ foul deeds with a description of their conversion and edifying ends.237 Either factor may have contributed to this work selling several editions in the reign of James I.

(p.363) Sutton's Disce mori was the partner of the Disce vivere discussed above, and passed through ten editions, five in an enlarged form; copies of the two were often bound together, in sequence or back to back. As a publication it is distinguished from the other works just discussed in that most editions were in duodecimo format and some editions were in black letter. It also had a series of woodcuts: on the temptation of Adam and Eve, the Last Judgement, a scene in which an old man warns a knight that ‘As thou art, I once was; as I am, so shalt thou be’, and one in which the knight in turn is conquered by a skeleton representing death.238 At the start and the end of this ‘religious discourse’ Sutton focused on the need for ‘every Christian’ including those who were still in good health to consider their latter end by considering how transitory were the things of this world, repenting while there was still time, and living a Christian life before Christ's second coming. As one of the Oxford friends who persuaded Sutton to publish this piece wrote in a preface, ‘to teach to die well is the forciblest persuasive to live well’.239 At the core of the work, however, lay a series of chapters which combined learning, eloquence, and practicality. There were sections on what should be done when a person fell sick, including the making of a will and bequeathing money to good ends such as ‘the maintenance of churches, colleges, schools, hospitals, and such like godly uses’; how those unwilling to die may be induced not to fear death; how to handle impatient sufferers, and those troubled in mind, or in the last throes; there were suitable readings, prayers, and a form of confession for those who were seriously ill, and consolation for mourners; and there were considerations to be borne in mind by travellers and others at risk of sudden death and by the suicidal. The tone was positive: there was more talk of heaven than hell, and of God than Satan; suitable texts were cited to prove that Christ came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, and that those who died in the faith would be saved; and at one point the burial service in the Book of Common Prayer was paraphrased when a petitioner assumes that ‘it hath pleased thee to take this thy servant … unto thy heavenly kingdom.’240 We have here a much more practical and positive approach than that of Becon or Perkins, and one that anticipates the later success of Jeremy Taylor.

Before that, there appeared some works which did not sell well enough to qualify for our sample, such as George Strode's The anatomie of mortalitie (1618), and The doctrine of dying well, perhaps by George Shawe (second edition 1628 and another c.1635),241 as well as a couple which are inside the sample. The first of these has already been mentioned—the sixteen chapters of ‘directions for sick and dying people’ in Bayly's encyclopaedic Practise of pietie. As has been seen, Bayly adopted a combination of the practical and the spiritual that was (p.364) similar to Sutton's, but perhaps gave greater space than Sutton and certainly than Perkins to the role of the clergy, through confession and celebration of Communion of the Sick, as laid down in the Book of Common Prayer. Bayly's concern that the invalid's heart be truly broken for his or her sins and that even the smallest sins be confessed has a hard edge that is not there in Sutton, and Satan figures much more than in the earlier work. But once a proper sense of sin is achieved Bayly is prepared to reassure the sick person that God never denied his mercy to those who were truly penitent and that ‘no sin should ever move a child of God to despair’.242

The second is a very different work: Henry Montague's Contemplatio mortis et immortalitatis (1631), which was enlarged and partly rewritten in 1633 and published as Manchester al mondo, and passed through perhaps fifteen editions by the late 1680s. The author was a nobleman, the first earl of Manchester, and though he wrote from a firmly Christian perspective, he made regular comparisons with classical thought on the nature of death, why it should be welcomed, and how to prepare for it, and in some passages quoted Plato, Seneca, Epicurus and other ‘heathens’ almost as often as the Bible and the Fathers. The text was in English, but the classical parallels and high proportion of Latin citations, especially in the closing sections offering last thoughts for the dying, indicate the educational level of the intended reader.243

xiii. Godly Dying Handbooks in the Later Stuart Period

With Jeremy Taylor's The rule and exercises of holy dying, we reach a work that sold almost as many editions between the 1650s and the 1720s as Becon's had done from the 1560s to the 1630s. It was written to calm the fears of dying of his aristocratic patroness, but like Holy living, was probably also intended for an episcopalian laity deprived of the church's normal services and for ousted clergy as well. It is also noteworthy that neither the Greek epigraph on the title-page nor the Latin phrases in the large engraving which followed were translated into English. The engraving depicted an old man, a middle-aged man and woman, and a child confronted by symbols of mortality, and in the supporting texts they were exhorted to watch and pray because they did not know the hour of their death—like Sutton, a borrowing from pre-Reformation images and ideas.244

Taylor described his work in the epistle dedicatory as ‘the first entire body of directions for sick and dying people that I remember to have been published in the Church of England’, suggesting he had not encountered or chose (p.365) to ignore the works by Perkins, Powel, and Sutton, and the section in Bayly, though these had been published some decades earlier. Instead, he said, he drew his inspiration from the Bible, the Early Church, and his own pastoral experience, though he cited the classical moralists more than some earlier English authors.245 Nevertheless, like many of them he argued that the great art of dying well is ‘to be learnt by men in health’, that repentance can never come too soon, and that deathbed repentance was invalid because the individual needed to grow in grace. Accordingly the first four of his five chapters were directed in turn to the healthy, the sick, the gravely ill, and the dying. What marks out Taylor's work are on the one hand the stress he puts on treating the Christian as both an individual with his own role to play and a member of a corporate body, the church, and on the other the emphasis he places on the role of the clergy, especially in the fifth chapter where he offers fellow clergy a short office for visitation of the sick as well as practical advice on confession, prayer, administration of the sacrament, and spiritual guidance. It is perhaps not surprising that the work left a marked impression on clergymen such as John Wesley and John Keble in succeeding generations, and also found a large market in the later Stuart period, probably both among the clergy and better-educated laity.246

Half a dozen other titles in the sample are worth mentioning, because in their different ways they complemented Taylor's work in terms of customer choice. Time and the end of time [1664?] by a Gloucestershire dissenting minister, John Fox, consisted of a pair of ‘discourses’ on how to spend one's time best and on contemplating one's latter end. Perhaps delivered originally as sermons, this work was also translated into Welsh, and proved sufficiently popular to sell over a dozen editions by 1720.247 Secondly, there is Edward Pearse's The great concern (1671), subtitled ‘a serious warning to a timely and thorough preparation for death: with helps and directions in order thereunto’. The identity of the author is not clear: he might have been a clergyman ejected from a London post or a moderate conformist minister in Northamptonshire; but the opening has echoes of Taylor: ‘To walk with God here on earth while we live, and to be ready to live with God for ever in heaven when we come to die, is a great work we have to do.’ Pearse did not shirk from stating the terribleness of death and the way in which the Devil was most fierce at the hour of death, and regularly exhorted ‘all, good and bad, saints and sinners’ to consider their plight and make ready for that moment. But in general he adopted a very positive tone: God has spared us this long so we can prepare our souls for the hour of death, and there are many things we can do before then. The work was a good deal shorter than Taylor's, was published (p.366) in duodecimo at about a shilling, and as we shall see shortly came to be ‘recommended as proper to be given at funerals’.248

Two even shorter and certainly cheaper works had already appeared in the late 1650s and (probably) the 1660s. One was The dying mans last sermon, variously attributed to ‘John Hart’ and ‘Andrew Jones’, of which the first surviving edition, the third, is dated 1659. Despite being a rather obvious scissors-and-paste job, it sold perhaps twelve editions in twenty-five years.249 The other was Death triumphant, attributed to Andrew Jones, of which the first surviving edition is the fifth of 1674. This is even more in the ‘penny godly’ genre: from the opening crude woodcut of a skeleton saying ‘I kill the soul’ and pointing a dart (symbolizing death) at an old man, a vain woman with cosmetic patches on her face, a young man, and a boy, through the mixture of scripture texts and a secular treatment (in verse and prose) of ‘Death’ as ‘the most renowned, mighty, puissant and irresistible champion, and conqueror’, who in his ‘notable fights’ had bested Alexander, Julius Caesar, and many lesser mortals, to the message that ‘death to a godly good man is a gracious friend’ to be welcomed by the faithful, and ‘Certain rules and directions how to live a godly life … so we may die a happy death, and not fear him when he comes’, and a concluding woodcut. Whether this was the work of a clergyman or a literary hack employed by a publisher is not clear, but the work sold perhaps eight editions in the 1670s and early 1680s.250

At this point we may also anticipate a pair of works by a London rector, John Hayward, to be discussed in Chapter 7, because he adopted a variety of techniques to make his point. In The horrors and terrors of the hour of death, which sold twenty-one editions between 1690 and c.1730 there is a mixture of short sermons, advice on godly dying, and a number of dreadful warning stories about those who failed to act in time; and in the first part of Hell's everlasting flames avoided, which sold thirty-five editions from the mid-1690s to the mid-1730s, Hayward combined exposition and soliloquy as the sinner lamented his wicked life, though this second work was more in the mould of urging repentance on the hard-hearted than preparing the sick and elderly for death.251

The Christians defence against the fears of death by a Huguenot minister, Charles Drelincourt, was translated into English and published in 1675, having already (it was claimed) been printed fifteen times in French, as well as in Dutch and other languages. The work was said to possess ‘seasonable directions how to prepare ourselves to die well’, but in practice concentrated most on providing remedies and consolations, and prayers and meditations, to help cope with the fear of death among the living. It was a very long work, costing 6s. bound, and (p.367) may have owed some of its success to being advertised as being ‘of very great use to divines for funeral sermons’, and suitable ‘to be given away by well-disposed persons at funerals’, as well as excellent for ‘every Christian reader’. It certainly continued to sell steadily throughout the eighteenth century, reaching a twenty-eigth edition in 1811.252

William Sherlock's A practical discourse concerning death also proved popular: it was reprinted every other year from 1689 to 1739, and beyond. Delivered originally as sermons to lawyers at the Temple, much of its material is familiar: different notions of death, the certainty of death but the uncertainty of the hour of our death, and how to ‘improve’ on these, together with remedies against the fear of death.253 What distinguished it from other works was its very straightforward message—‘If death arrests us while we are in a state of sin … we must die for ever; but if our souls are alive to God, by a principle of grace and holiness, before our bodies die, they must live for ever’—and the appeal to self-interest which we have noted creeping into the work of Allestree and other authors of godly living works in the later seventeenth century, as when Sherlock argued that since the pleasures of religion lasted longer than those of the flesh they were more gratifying, and so would persuade men to turn from the pleasures of this world to those of the next.254

The 1692 edition of Pearse's Great concern had an extra section in the preface, in which two publishers who were alive to the profits to be made from selling religious works offered ‘A proposition for the more profitable improvement of burials by giving of books’. The gist of this was that instead of wasting money on biscuits and wine or giving people memorial rings or gloves, those who were arranging funerals should give books that would make people think about their latter end. ‘We may say of a book given at funerals, what the divine Herbert says of a verse, viz. “A book may find him, who a sermon flies | And turn a gift into a sacrifice” ‘. What is valuable for us here is that the publishers then listed four groups of titles graded according to the wealth of those organizing the funeral: ‘for the poorer sort, books of 6d. price’, then ‘books at 1s.’, ‘books of 1s. 6d. and 2s.’, and, finally, ‘for the richer sort, books of 4, 5 and 6s. price’. The first group included only two titles, neither of which is in our sample (the ‘Hart’/‘Jones’ works were published by a rival set of publishers, and in any case may have been deemed not respectable enough); the second incorporated six titles, including Pearse's own work and a couple of other works in the sample which have been discussed above under a related heading (calls to repentance); the third had eight titles, again including two in the sample; while the fourth had only three, but two of these were Taylor's Holy living and Holy dying (as a single unit), and Drelincourt's Christians defence against (p.368) the fear of death which we noted above had already been recommended as a giftto mourners at funerals.255

The ‘proposition’ is interesting on various counts. It represents a contemporary identification of a genre of works on preparing for death, even if that genre was defined there more broadly than it has been here. It reinforces the impression that the idea of giving books was becoming more common, though in this case the gifts would be to those of equal or even superior social standing rather than simply to the poor. The proposal was also one with which most ‘pious persons’ were said (by the authors) to have agreed. What is also very revealing is on the one hand the grading of works horizontally according to the purchasing power of prospective givers, and on the other the mixture of authors normally treated as vertically divided into different camps: works by dissenters like Baxter, Bates, and Flavel rub shoulders with titles by leading conformists such as Patrick and Taylor since in bookselling terms they were all one.256 The fact that almost half of the works recommended in 1692 appear in our sample of steady and best-sellers also suggests that that sample is moderately reliable in giving us a picture of what was thought worth reading at the time and what was selling well.

xiv. Conclusion

Four further thoughts may be offered about the various works on the life of faith, cases of conscience, godly living, and godly dying discussed in this chapter.

First, they tended to be either quite large or at least of medium length, that is to say anything from about sixty pages of octavo or duodecimo to several hundred or even a thousand pages of quarto or even folio. Up to a point there was a shift from large works at the outset to middling works later on, but this did not go nearly as far as in other genres in our sample; even the abridging of popular titles which can be traced in many other genres took place unusually late in the works considered in this chapter.257 Moreover, with some exceptions (some editions of Bayly and Allestreee, Rawlet's Christian monitor, Pearse's Great concern, some of Bunyan's titles, and some of the cheaper works on reassurance and repentance), these works were in general moderately well produced in terms of paper and type quality, and so were in the medium to expensive range in price. And because they were relatively expensive to buy and bind, and took time to read and some skill and knowledge to understand, the readership for these works was probably drawn mainly from the landed (p.369) elite and the middling sort who wished to know more about what constituted true faith and how they should live their lives on earth. In short, compared to the cheap bibles and aids to bible study, some of the cheap devotional works discussed in previous chapters, and some of the entertaining and ‘popular’ works and the metrical psalters to be discussed in Chapters 7– 9 below, relatively few of the best-sellers and steady sellers surveyed in this chapter were aimed at those with limited reading skills and limited funds, or made use of images.258

Secondly, while the works discussed in this chapter contained a higher proportion of ‘Calvinist’ or strongly double-predestinarian works than any of the genres in our sample, it would not be true to say that such works were the most popular. Even in the period from 1590 to 1660 when high Calvinism was at its peak in England, this was probably not true, as repeat editions of the works of authors like Thomas Rogers, Edmund Bunny, Christopher Sutton, Thomas Tymme, and Lewis Bayly suggest. Moreover, at quite an early stage, as we have seen, a reaction set in against the extremes of introspection and ‘holy desperation’, and various supplements or alternatives were made available from the 1620s to the 1650s and beyond, even before the anti-Calvinism of the sects in the 1640s and the 1650s and of the episcopalians in the 1650s and 1660s took its full toll. In general, works which were in that consensual middle ground that some historians have identified in the early Stuart period, or were open-ended in their appeal—directed at the great mass of the unregenerate, or at both converted and unconverted—tended to sell much better than works directed at those already called; and works which devoted more space to the love of Christ and his desire for the reader's conversion sold much better than those with a high Calvinist framework or offering a detailed agenda for introspection. The predominant themes in the godly living and dying handbooks were also not markedly different from those found in works described in other chapters: the need for a true and lively faith, given through God's grace, finding expression in a life framed, both inwardly and outwardly, by humility and repentance, self-denial and self-discipline in following the example of Christ, and being refreshed and strengthened by the correct use of the ordinances indicated in the Bible.

There was, of course, a risk—my third point—that in their attempts to balance the damning effect of the Law and the ‘everlasting flames of hell’ with the good news of the Gospel and the ‘eternal felicities of heaven’, and in their efforts to strike a balance between the need for faith and the need for piety, authors of all persuasions might come close to implying that ‘holy living’ (p.370) would help lead the devout to ‘the saints’ everlasting rest’.259 As a result, it was possible for those laymen with little interest in or understanding of theological niceties to ignore these authors’ regular warnings about the limited number predestined to salvation and the need for faith and, through grace, sincere repentance throughout their lives, and to think—mistakenly—that they could achieve salvation in part, perhaps even in large part, through their own efforts. In this way, older ideas of a semi-Pelagian nature or which equated good works with a righteousness that God was bound to acknowledge could and did persist, even in the minds of the moderately well-educated and well-disposed, underneath and alongside the new Protestant emphasis on justification and salvation through faith in Christ's merits alone.260

In the light of the works discussed in this chapter one could also suggest, finally, that the moral rigour that can be found among High-Churchmen and nonjurors on the one hand and the teaching of the Evangelical Revival on the other marks less of a break with the past than might have been thought; and that the success of these later groups stemmed not from a sharp reaction against the emptiness or narrowness of existing teaching, but from the springboard provided by the efforts of a large number of zealous pastors and authors in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. On the one side we have John Kettlewell recommending Allestree's Whole duty of man and William Law writing Christian perfection and A serious call—two works that would undoubtedly have been in our sample of steady sellers if the cut-off date was later than 1700. On the other we have John Wesley in his early twenties being strongly influenced by reading Jeremy Taylor's Rules and exercises of holy living and dying, Thomas à Kempis's Imitation of Christ in the Stanhope edition, and the two works by Law just cited.261 That Wesley was anxious for others to be able to share his experience of the vivifying effect of print on paper is shown by his campaign to provide abridged, affordable editions of such works that would make the Gospel message ‘intelligible to plain men’. Thus his third publication in a publishing career that spanned over 370 titles was an edition in 1735 of à Kempis called The Christian pattern—a work he thought ‘ought to be in every house’.262

Over the next decade Wesley read much more widely, and in the years 1749– 55 he selected and published fifty little duodecimo volumes under the umbrella title of A Christian Library, which provided abridgements or abstracts of larger works written by a wide variety of authors: both medieval and contemporary, and both Catholic and various shades of Protestant. In his (p.371) selection of the ‘choicest pieces of practical divinity’ for this series, Wesley included not only works by well-known churchmen such as Jeremy Taylor and Richard Allestree, which we have encountered in this chapter, but also a significant proportion of ‘godly’ titles, shorn where necessary of any objectionable predestinarian teaching. These abridgements included several of the works in our sample: Robert Bolton's Discourse about the state of true happinesse and Some generall directions for a comfortable walking with God, John Preston's New covenant and Breast-plate of faith and love, Thomas Goodwin's Child of light walking in darknesse, Richard Baxter's Saints everlasting rest (a version of Baxter's Call to the unconverted was published separately by Wesley), Richard Alleine's Vindiciae pietatis, and Joseph Alleine's Alarme to the unconverted.263 Comparison of the works recommended by Wesley with those recommended by Baxter in the 1670s in his Christian directory shows a good deal of overlap, and a number of Wesley's favoured titles were also commended by a Caroline bishop, John Wilkins, and a leading dissenter of his own day, Philip Doddridge.264

In this way, Wesley, the great-grandson and grandson of strong puritans and the son of a devout High-Churchman, was himself an heir of the doctrines of both the ‘godly’ and the conformist traditions of early modern English Protestantism, as well as of the pietist and revivalist movements on the Continent and in America which had helped make a work like Bayly's Practise of pietie an international best-seller.265 Wesley not only shared the desire of earlier English authors to make the Christian message intelligible to ‘plain men’, but also in his publications of other people's writing showed how much he had learnt from them (and their publishers) about how to make available to an ever-widening readership the best of what their traditions taught on Christian faith and practice.


(1) See STC2, and Appendix 1 below, s.v. Thomas, and Parsons.

(2) H. C. White, English Devotional Literature [Prose] 1600– 1640 (Madison, Wis., 1931), 82– 6; ead., The Tudor Books of Private Devotion (Westport, Conn., 1979), 28; D. Crane, ‘English Translations of the Imitatio Christi in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’, Recusant History, 13 (1975), 79– 100. Two translations and one paraphrase by Protestants are in our sample.

(3) STC2 23954.7– 60/239461– 8; [Thomas à Kempis], The folowinge of Christ, tr. R. Whitford (1556), sig. Aiiv; other editions of Whitford's translation were often published abroad under Elizabeth and the early Stuarts: Crane, ‘English Translations’, 79– 80.

(4) Crane, ‘English Translations’, 80– 1; and Appendix 1 below.

(5) Page's version appeared in 1639, Preston's posthumously in 1642: both depended heavily in places on a new translation by a Jesuit based in the Netherlands: Crane, ‘English Translations’, 85– 7, 91– 2.

(6) Ibid.,, 87, 92– 3, and Appendix 1 below. The nonjuror George Hickes and evangelical John Wesley also produced versions in the early eighteenth century.

(7) ESTC; Appendix 1 below; and Crane, ‘English Translations’, p. 98 n. 32; Thomas à Kempis, The Christian's pattern, revised by George Stanhope (1698), title-page, sigs. A1r–v, and Z3r–v; A. C. Outler (ed.), John Wesley (New York and Oxford, 1964), pp. viii, 7, 42, 61, 119, 162, 251– 2, 307; but for Wesley's reservations about Stanhope's style, see I. Rivers, ‘Dissenting and Methodist Books of Practical Divinity’ in Rivers, Books and their Readers, 154– 5. Biographical details on authors discussed in this chapter are taken from DNBunless otherwise stated.

(8) Sommerville, Popular Religion, 34, 37, 115. For later and wider interest in à Kempis's work, see last note above, and W. R. Ward, The Protestant Evangelical Awakening (Cambridge, 1992), 48, 177.

(9) These comments are based partly on my own comparison of the Whitford version cited in n. 3 above with Thomas à Kempis, Of the imitation of Christ, tr. T. Rogers (1584), and partly on White, Tudor Books of Private Devotion, 23– 4, 28– 30, and Sommerville, Popular Religion, 33– 4, 36– 7, 57, 115, 137 and n.

(10) Crane, ‘English Translations’, 81, 83– 5; White, Tudor Books of Private Devotion, 28– 30; ead., English Devotional Literature, 84– 6; Thomas à Kempis, Of the imitation of Christ, tr. T. Rogers (1596), sigs. a9r–10v.

(11) Crane, ‘English Translations’, 89, 92– 3.

(12) For an explicit statement of this, see Thomas à Kempis, Of the imitation of Christ, tr. T. Rogers (1596), sigs. a3r–7v.

(13) These will be discussed later in this chaper. For the view (based on a different sample) that puritans did not urge the imitation of Christ as much as Anglicans, see J. Sears McGee, ‘Conversion and the Imitation of Christ in Anglican and Puritan Writing’, Journal of British Studies, 15 (1976), 21– 39; but cf. n. 69 below.

(14) E. Bunny, A booke of Christian exercise, appertaining to resolutionby R.P. (1585), sig. A6r.

(15) B. Gregory, ‘The “True and Zealouse Service of God”: Robert Parsons, Edmund Bunny, and The First Booke of the Christian Exercise’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 45 (1994), 244– 68, especially 246, 252– 3. Bunny also forbore to add in any material of his own, for example of a Calvinist nature.

(16) Bunny, Booke of Christian exercise, sig. A6v; and on Catholic-Protestant parallels, White, Tudor Books of Private Devotion, 170– 1, 242; Gregory, ‘“True and Zealouse Service”’, 254– 5, 267– 8, and passim, and Green, Christian's ABC, 14– 16, 42– 3, 59– 60, 281– 2.

(17) R. Greene, ‘The Repentance of Robert Greene’, in Life and Works of Robert Greene, M. A., ed. A. Grosart (15 vols., 1881– 6), xii. 165.

(18) R. Baxter, Reliquiae Baxterianae, ed. M. Sylvester (1696), lib. I, pt. I, para. 3 (p. 3); Rivers, ‘Dissenting and Methodist Books’, 135.

(19) See Appendix 1 for further details, and above, Ch. 5.xvii, and below, Ch. 6.xii; and DNB.

(20) C. Sutton, Disce vivere: learne to live (1617), title-page and passim. The [1604?] and 1611 editions were in black letter, the 1608, 1617, and 1634 in roman.

(21) Sutton, Disce vivere, title-page, 325– 6, and passim; Sutton's work was taken up by Newman and the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century: DNB.

(22) DNB; and STC2 24415– 20; T. Tymme, A silver watch-bell (1619), title-page, sig. A6r and passim.

(23) For this trend, see the works cited in Green, Christians ABC, chs. 7– 8, esp. pp. 353– 5, 387– 90, and 403– 11.

(24) N. Tyacke, ‘Puritanism, Arminianism, and Counter-Revolution’, in C. Russell (ed.), The Origins of the English Civil War (1973), 120; Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism c.1590– 1640 (Oxford, 1987), 26, 34– 5, 256, 262– 3; id., ‘Anglican Attitudes: Some Recent Writings on English Religious History, from the Reformation to the Civil War’, Journal of British Studies, 35 (1996), 142– 4; K. Fincham and P. Lake, ‘The Ecclesiastical Policy of King James I’, Journal of British Studies, 24 (1985), 191; P. Lake, ‘Calvinism and the English Church 1570– 1635’, Past and Present, 114 (1987), 34 (citing not only Tyacke, but also Dewey Wallace's Puritans and Predestination as a recent survey of the printed books of the period showing Calvinist dominance, though in fact Wallace had surveyed only books on the predestination debate, and only those which he had found).

(25) See above, pp. 222– 3; and below, Appendix 1, s.v. T. Rogers (1607), and W. Perkins (Exposition, 1595). For sales of English editions of the Heidelberg Catechism and Ursinus's exposition of it, for the Westminster Catechisms, and Alexander Grosse's Fiery pillar, see Green, Christian's ABC, chs. 7–8, and Appendix 1.

(26) The original work, Armilla aurea, was published three times; the translation into English appeared in octavo or quarto in the early 1590s, but usually in folio thereafter, as part of his collected works: STC2 19655– 63 and 19646– 51; for the dialogue version, see STC2 19664– 64.5.

(27) See Appendix 1 s.v. L’Espine; Cowper (1609); and T. Rogers (1618).

(28) H. Haggar, The order of causes (1654), title-page, sig. A2v; note his insistence on pp. 13– 23 that Christ died for all, not just the elect.

(29) [Elisha Coles] (the elder), A practical discourse of God's sovereignty (1678), sig. a7r, and note the additions to the preface from the first edition.

(30) The phrase ‘holy desperation’ is attributed to William Perkins in G. C. R. Henson, ‘A Holy Desperation: the Literary Quest for Grace in the Reformed English Tradition from John Bale to John Bunyan’, unpublished Ph.D. thesis (Louisville, 1981). For the bruising and mending of the heart and the use of ‘marks’ to test election, see also N. Pettit, The Heart Prepared: Grace and Conversion in Puritan Spiritual Life (1966); R. T. Kendall, Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 (Oxford, 1979); P. F. Jensen, ‘The Life of Faith in the Teaching of Elizabethan Protestants’, unpublished D.Phil. thesis (Oxford, 1979); J. Stachniewski, The Persecutory Imagination: English Puritanism and the Literature of Religious Despair (Oxford, 1991), ch. 1; and Walsham, Providence, 15– 17.

(31) For the debate on assurance, see Green, Christian's ABC, 379– 80, 387– 97, 405, 408. For works by the authors cited, see following paragraphs.

(32) The phrases are from the Book of Common Prayer: see F. E. Brightman, The English Rite (2 vols., 1921), i. 131, 133, 155, 157, ii. 679– 83; the works named are all listed in Appendix 1. On the experience of conversion and looking to Christ, see also Green, Christian's ABC, 313, 320– 2, 372, 389, 391– 4.

(33) J. de L'Espine, An excellent treatise of Christian righteousnes (1578), 98– 105; J. Taffin, Of the markes of the children of God (1590), passim.

(34) W. Perkins, A treatise tending unto a declaration (1595), sigs. A3r–4v, pp. 15, 166, and passim.

(35) W. Perkins, A case of conscience (1592), sigs. A2r–v, and passim.

(36) J. Brinsley, The true watch, and rule of life (1611), title-page, sigs. A6r–7v, pp. 39, 114, and passim.

(37) R. Bolton, A discourse about the state of true happinesse (1625), title-page, sigs. A8r, B3v, pp. 85– 8, 157– 8, and passim; and cf. Walsham, Providence, 323.

(38) R. Bolton, Some generall directions for a comfortable walking with God (1625), 308– 9, and passim.

(39) D. Dyke, The mystery of selfe-deceiving (1633), sig. A4r, and pp. 51– 66; note also the use of a syllogism against the temporary believer on pp. 66– 7, and the fifty pages comparing the true and temporary believer, pp. 69– 123; W. Whately, The new birth or a treatise of regeneration (1622), 111– 12, 116, and passim.

(40) For further details of Hart's Burning bush not consumed, see Appendix 1.

(41) H. Greenwood, The jaylers jayle-delivery (1624), 1.

(42) See Appendix 1, for all except J. Ball, A treatise of faith (1631); despite their length the works by Culverwell and Ball were said on their title-pages to be for the ‘weak’ or the ‘weakest’ Christians.

(43) R. Rogers, Seven treatises (1605), title-page, sigs. A6r–v, and passim.

(44) Ibid.,, sigs. A5r, B2r, B3r; those who were in any doubt about their election were recommended suitable works to read to gain assurance.

(45) Ibid.,, pp. 28– 31.

(46) See the first, fourth, and sixth treatises.

(47) Below, Appendix 1; History of the Book in Britain IV, ch. 2, pt. 1; for the abridgement, The practice of Christianitie, see Appendix 1 s.v. Rogers.

(48) STC2 6113.5– 18,6118.2– 118.8, and Green, Christian's ABC, 630– 1.

(49) J. Rogers, The doctrine of faith (1640), ‘To the reader’, and passim.

(50) H. Scudder, The Christians daily walke in holy securitie and peace (1628), sigs. A11r–v, and passim.

(51) E. Reyner, Precepts for Christian practice (1649), title-page, sigs. A3r–4v, and passim.

(52) For further details of the first two see Appendix 1; T. Goodwin, A childe of light (1636), title-page, ‘To the reader’, and passim.

(53) W. Gurnall, The Christian in compleat armour (1655), title-page, and passim; for William Gouge's Panoplia see Appendix 1.

(54) Above, n. 50, and below, nn. 57, 62, 102; and cf. The Work of William Perkins, ed. I. Breward (Apple-ford, 1970), 389– 410, and 477– 510; Breward's appraisal (ibid.,, 3– 131) is the best currently available.

(55) For a good if rather narrowly based study of religious despair, see Stachniewski, The Persecutory Imgination, ch. 1 and passim; but cf. also H. R. Trevor-Roper, ‘Robert Burton and “The Anatomy of Melancholy”’, in Renaissance Essays (1985), 239– 74; M. MacDonald, Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety, and Healing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge, 1981); and Walsham, Providence, 17– 18.

(56) See below, pp. 322– 32; but note also the surge of devotional works designed to help all sorts of Christians turn daily to God, and the new handbooks to help the faithful receive divine succour through the Lord's Supper, both described in Ch. 5 above.

(57) C. F. Allison, The Rise of Moralism: The Proclamation of the Gospel from Hooker to Baxter (1966), ch. 8; Keeble, Baxter, 4, 22, 64, 70– 2; Knott, Sword of the Spirit, 75– 82; and A. C. Clifford, Atonement and Jus-tification: English Evangelical Theology 1640– 1790—An Evaluation (Oxford, 1990), pp. 17, 25, 28, 31, 76, 82, 101– 5, and chs. 7– 13 passim. For Baxter's recommendation of Perkins, Bolton, and others but especially Preston and Sibbes, see R. Baxter, The saints everlasting rest (1658), sig. B1v; and Keeble, Baxter, 34,

(58) J. Taffin, Of the markes of the children of God (1590), sigs. A3r–v, and chs. 3– 12.

(59) For examples of ‘What if ?’ questions, and reassuring replies, see W. Perkins, The whole treatise of the cases of conscience (1608), sigs. qq1v and pp. 56– 7 (and below, pp. 341– 6); id., A graine of musterd seede (1621), title-page, and passim; and cf. id., A treatise tending unto a declaration, 136– 46, and Golden chaine, passim.

(60) Perkins, Graine of musterd seede, 17– 47.

(61) R. Greenham, Workes (1605), 1– 43, 147– 229, 489– 533.

(62) R. Linaker, A comfortable treatise for such as are afflicted in conscience (1620), sig. A2v.

(63) N. Byfield, The signes or an essay concerning the assurance (1621), sigs. A3r–v; and cf. the first two items in W. Cowper, The triumph of a Christian (1618), which provided ‘consolations’ for the ‘godly afflicted’, and ‘a compend of Christian consolation’: 37– 47 and 153.

(64) R. Sibbes, The bruised reede, and smoaking flax (1638), title-page, sig. B7r, p. 23, and passim.

(65) R. Sibbes, The soules conflict with it selfe (1635), passim; and cf. the interesting remarks on this work by Knott, Sword of the Spirit, 52– 61.

(66) anon., Heavens happiness (1632), title-page and p. 11.

(67) A. F., The saints legacies (1640), sigs. q6v, q11v, and passim.

(68) J. Andrewes, The converted mans new birth (1629), title-page, sig. A4v, and passim. For other works by Andrewes, see below, Ch. 8.xiii.

(69) M. M. Knappen, Tudor Puritanism (Chicago and London, 1965), 376; Green, Christian's ABC, 353–4, 357–8, 387–97.

(70) W. Perkins, An exposition of the symbole or creed of the apostles (1595); [J. Brinsley], The true watch (1615), 114– 48; and Green, Christian's ABC, chs. 7, 9; J. Preston, The new covenant (1630), 317– 18.

(71) Cited in Green, Christian's ABC, 408, and cf. ibid.,, 405– 9.

(72) W. Perkins, A declaration of the true manner of knowing Christ crucified (1596), passim.

(73) D. Dyke, Two treatises (1631), 203– 358.

(74) H. Greenwood, A joyfull tractate of the most blessed baptisme that ever was solemniz'd (1624), 42, and pas-sim; id., The blessedest birth that ever was (in 1628 edition of Workes), passim.

(75) J. Preston, The breast-plate of faith and love (1634), title-page.

(76) E. Reynolds, Three treatises (1631): the third is ‘The life of Christ’; J. Ussher, Immanuel, or the mystery of the incarnation (1638), passim.

(77) Sibbes, Bruised reede, sig. A10r.

(78) See above, pp. 200– 2.

(79) T. Hooker, The poor doubting Christian drawn to Christ (1635); and [Hooker]/E[lizabeth] C[lark], The poor doubting Christian (–1669); N. Lockyer, Christs communion with his church militant (1640), sig. A3v, and passim; T. Goodwin, Christ set forth (1642), sigs. A2r–v, and cf. A3r–v.

(80) For these see above, Ch. 6.i, and below, Ch. 8.xiii.

(81) Taylor's work was composed in the early 1640s, but not published until 1653 (for further details see Appendix 1); and cf. McGee, ‘Conversion and the Imitation of Christ’, 27– 31.

(82) The most convenient place to examine the different texts of the Book of Common Prayer is still Brightman, English Rite; Certaine sermons or homilies appointed to be read in churches (1640), 256.

(83) R. Wimbledon, A sermon no less fruteful [1540?], passim; J. Bradford, A sermon of repentance [1553], passim; and Walsham, Providentialism, 283– 4.

(84) See above, pp. 200– 1, and below, pp. 364– 5.

(85) Green, Christian's ABC, pp. 372– 6; for a more ‘puritan’ view of the difference, see McGee, ‘Conversion and the Imitation of Christ’, 23– 7.

(86) Green, Christian's ABC, pp. 371– 6, 380– 2; Walsham, Providence, 128– 9.

(87) A. Dent, A sermon of repentance (1583), sig. A8r and passim.

(88) S. Smith, The great assize, or day of jubilee (1644), passim; this work consisted of a set of four sermons which together made a moderately substantial volume.

(89) J. Denison, A three-fold resolution (1616), 1– 433, 434– 579.

(90) H. Smith, The trumpet of the soule (1591), sig. B4r and passim.

(91) W. Perkins, A faithfull and plaine exposition upon the two first verses of the second chapter of Zephaniah (1606), 2– 3.

(92) H. Greenwood, A treatise of the great and generall day of judgement (1606), 57, 75.

(93) On a decline in the call for or confidence in introspection, see Green, Christian's ABC, 392– 4, and cf. 394– 7; for an earlier example of a work that urged sinners to awake and repent in straightforward terms and sold seven editions between 1589 and 1637, see L. Wright, A summons for sleepers (listed in Appendix 1 below).

(94) See below, Ch. 8.xiii.

(96) T[homas] P]assinger], The door of salvation opened (1681), passim.

(97) Baxter's original Call can be found in Wing2 at B1196– 1204B, and the abridged at P109B–10bA;the original Now or never; The holy, serious diligent believer justified at B1320–26; and the abridgement, Now or never: work out your salvation, at R8– 9B and B1324A.

(98) J. Hart, Christs first sermon (1689), title-page and passim; id., Christs last sermon ([1679?]), sig. A6r; A. Jones, Dooms-day (1682), passim; for further details of the works mentioned here, see Appendix 1 s.v. ‘Hart’ and ‘Jones’, and below, Ch. 8.xiii.

(99) See below, Ch. 8.xiii.

(100) T. Goodwin, Encouragements to faith (1650), passim.

(101) See G. Fox, To all that would know the way to the kingdom (1653); W. Dewsbury, The discovery of mans returne to his first estate (1654); Walsham, Providence, 153–4; and below, Ch. 8.

(102) W. Fenner, Wilfull impenitency (1648), sig. a5r and passim.

(103) T. Vincent, Gods terrible voice in the city of London (1667), 24– 59, and passim.

(104) T. Vincent, Christs certain and sudden appearance to judgement (1667), sig. A2r, and passim.

(105) [T. Gouge], A word to sinners (1672), title-page, and 33– 47.

(106) R. Kidder, The young man's duty (1758), title-page and passim.

(107) J. Inett, A guide to repentance (1720), 1 – 4 and passim; and see above, pp. 268 n. 125, 291 n. 228.

(108) J. Hayward, Hell's everlasting flames avoided (1719), 7, 23, 20, 70 – 80, 80 – 110, and passim.

(109) For sales of cheaper works on repentance, see below, Ch. 8; and cf. Walsham, Providence, pp. 150– 6, ch. 6, and passim. The problem remains of how much was understood and acted on: ibid.,, 63, 323; but answering that requires another book.

(110) T. Shephard, The sincere convert (1648), 229– 61, and passim; for earlier editions, see below, Appendix 1.

(111) T. Shephard, The sound beleever (1645), 6– 155, compared to 155– 347.

(112) T. Brookes, Precious remedies against Satans devices (1671), passim.

(113) T. Brookes, Heaven on earth (1657), title-page, sig. C1r, pp. 26– 31, 536– 41, and passim.

(114) T. Brookes, The mute Christian under the smarting rod (1698), sig. A3r, and passim.

(115) T. Watson, ‘The Christians charter’, reprinted in Three treatises (1660), epistle dedicatory and pas-sim; id., ‘Autarkeia, or the art of divine contentment’, in ibid.,, 282– 4, and passim. Gurnall's Christian in compleat armour has already been discussed above.

(116) M. Mead, En oligo Christianos. The almost Christian discovered (1663), title-page, sigs. A4r–v, pp. 26– 139, 43 (and cf. 238), and passim.

(117) J. Flavell, A saint indeed (1673), title-page, epistle dedicatory, and passim.

(118) [Thomas Wilcox], A choice drop of honey from the rock Christ [1690?], passim.

(119) J. Saltmarsh, Free grace (1700), 87– 165, and passim.

(120) T. Pierce, A correct copy of some notes (1655), passim; J. Nayler, Love to the lost (1656), title-page, and 32– 4.

(121) W. Shewen, The true Christian's faith and experience (1675), title-page and passim.

(122) R. Allestree, The causes of the decay of Christian piety (1667), 167, 338, and passim.

(123) J. Janeway, Heaven upon earth (1667), title-page and passim; E. Pearse, The best match (1673), sig. A2r, and passim; R. Allestree, The art of contentment (1689), preface, and passim.

(124) Neil Keeble does full justice to Baxter's work as a ‘pen in God's hand’ in his Baxter and his Literary Culture of Nonconformity. The figures are derived from the Baxter bibliography in the former, and Wing2.

(125) Keeble, Baxter, 157–69.

(126) Keeble, Baxter, p. 29, and below, Appendix 1.

(127) Keeble, Baxter, 13– 14, 95– 100; R. Baxter, The saints everlasting rest (1658), sigs. A4r–v, C3v–4r; I have seen the frontispiece in the 1658 and 1662 editions.

(128) Baxter, Saints everlasting rest (1658), 3, 125– 6; 20, 298– 301, 510– 11.

(129) Ibid.,, 151, and cf. 439– 42. For Baxter's shift to a mixture of introspection and looking often on God and Christ, see G. Wakefield, Puritan Devotion (1957), 75, citing Baxter's Autobiography (Everyman edition, 1931), 113.

(130) Baxter, Saints everlasting rest, 51; 300– 1, 314– 16; 438; 378– 9 (and cf. 386); 320– 2; 753; 809; and cf. above, p. 281. For sales of two eighteenth-century versions that reduced Saints everlasting rest to a quarter of its original size, see Rivers, ‘Dissenting and Methodist Books’, 141– 2.

(131) Keeble, Baxter, 73– 6.

(132) Baxter, Reliquiae Baxterianae, lib. 1, p. 114, para. 174.

(133) R. Baxter, A call to the unconverted to turn and live (1669), sigs. A4r, A6r, and B5v, and pp. 224–38, 205; Rivers, ‘Dissenting and Methodist Books’, 140–1; and cf. Sommerville, Popular Religion, 47–8.

(134) B. R. [= R. B.], Now or never: work out your salvation (1683), title-page, sig. A2v, and passim; and see above n. 97, and Keeble, Baxter, 8.

(135) R. Baxter, Directions and perswasions to a sound conversion (1658), sig. A2v, pp. 2–3, and passim and see below, Appendix 1, for repeat editions.

(136) See above, nn. 97, 125.

(137) On another popular work by Baxter demonstrating energy and flair, The poor man's family book, see below, Appendix 1.

(138) Calamy Revised, 6; J. Alleine, A most familiar explanation; and Green, Christian's ABC, 222, 226, 262, 582–3.

(139) J. Alleine, An alarme to unconverted sinners (1675), sig. A2r.

(140) Ibid.,, pp. 19– 24, 136– 84, 190, 192, 197, 211– 12, and passim; Sommerville, Popular Religion, 42.

(141) Cited by Iain Murray in the introduction to his 1959 edition (Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh), p.11.

(142) These are discussed below, Ch. 7.ii and 7.vi; to them could be added the powerful autobiographical record in Bunyan's Grace abounding to the chief of sinners.

(143) J. Bunyan, ‘Come, and welcome’, in Miscellaneous Works of John Bunyan VIII, ed. R. Greaves (Oxford, 1979), 242– 3, 245, 254– 8.

(144) Ibid.,, pp. lii–liii.

(145) Ibid.,, 373, 295.

(146) J. Bunyan, ‘Good news for the vilest of men’, in Miscellaneous Works of John Bunyan XI, ed. R. Greaves (Oxford, 1985), pp. xxxi–xxxii, x1i–x1ii, and 1– 92 passim.

(147) J. Bunyan, The barren fig-tree (1673), title-page; id., The acceptable sacrifice (1689), title-page. For earlier preachers’ use of the fig-tree motif, see Walsham, Providence, 290.

(148) See above, pp. 336– 7, 340, and below, p. 417; note also in Chapter 3 above the recommendation that newcomers to the Bible read the historical books which contain memorable characters and incidents rather than the books with more weighty or abstract matters.

(149) K. E. Kirk, Some Principles of Moral Theology and their Application (1934), chs. 1, 8.

(150) T. Wood, English Casuistical Divinity During the Seventeenth Century (1952), pp. xiv–xv, 84– 7, 91– 102; E. Rose, Cases of Conscience (Cambridge, 1975); and cf. E. Leites (ed.), Conscience and Casuistry in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1988), passim.

(151) H. R. McAdoo, The Structure of Caroline Moral Theology (1949), 66– 9; Wood, Casuistical Divinity, 67– 9.

(152) W. Perkins, The whole treatise of the cases of conscience (1606), sigs. q3r–7r; Wood, Casuistical Divinity, pp. xi, 39–41, 45–7.

(153) e.g. Joseph Hall, Robert Sanderson, George Herbert, Jeremy Taylor, and several later Stuart bishops as well as dissenters like Richard Baxter and Joseph Alleine: ibid.,, pp. xiii, 32–3, 54–6; McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 65–6, 81; K. T. Kelly, Conscience: Dictator or Guide? A Study of Seventeenth-century English Protestant Moral Theology (1967), 68–9, 93–6, 104–16.

(154) See the works by McAdoo, Wood, and Kelly cited in previous notes, passim; Kelly is more sceptical about the Protestant achievement (except perhaps in the case of Sanderson—see pp. 42–3), but equally clear on its debt to Catholic casuistry.

(155) e.g. McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 65–6, 69; Wood, Casuistical Divinity, pp. x–xi, 60–2, 67–9, 109–10, 119–20; Kelly, Conscience, 74–8, 82–6, 96.

(156) Perkins, Cases of conscience, title-page (Cambridge); Kelly, Conscience, 39–41, 46–53 (Sanderson); Wood, Casuistical Divinity, pp. ix (Baxter) and 35 (Owen).

(157) This was published in response to Perkins's Cases of conscience, first in Amsterdam in 1630, and then in England, as Conscience with the power and cases thereof, in London in 1643. Comparable works by conformists include John Sharp's Two discourses (1685), and some of his sermons, and Thomas Barlow's Several miscellaneous and weighty cases of conscience (1692). See Wood, Casuistical Divnity, 143–4, 150; McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 76, 91–4; and Kelly, Conscience, 86–8, 106–16.

(158) Both McAdoo and Wood devote a great deal of space to Taylor; on Baxter's work, see Keeble, Baxter, 78–80.

(159) Wing F800–4; with this could be coupled Henry Hammond's Of resisting the lawful magistrate upon colour of religion (1644), though this handled the matter more in the manner of a polemical tract than a case of conscience.

(160) This was published in English in 1655 and 1722. Other batches of specific cases of conscience by Sanderson were published in 1660, 1666, 1668, 1674, and 1678 (see Wing2 S 630, 603, 643A, 598, and 618).

(161) See Appendix 1.

(162) Perkins, Cases of conscience, title-page, sigs. q6v–7r, and passim.

(163) J. Hall, Resolutions and decisions (1659), title-page, sigs. T9r–v, and passim. On the rigour shown by conformists, see McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 82– 3, 131– 7, and Wood, Casuistical Divinity, pp. xix, 137– 9.

(164) See Appendix 1.

(165) Ibid., for further details of publication history.

(166) For Sanderson's career and reputation as a casuist, see DNB; McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 71–2; and Kelly, Conscience, 30–4, 38–9; and on later changes to moral theology and casuistry, see McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 66, 97, 130, and Leites, Conscience and Casuistry, passim.

(167) The exception to this statement was Perkins's Cases of conscience; but as indicated above this had many of the features of a catechism or a doctrinal treatise or a handbook on introspection which, together with its being first in the field, perhaps gave it an edge.

(168) e.g. Wood, Casuistical Divinity, 36–7.

(169) S. Brigden, London and the Reformation (Oxford, 1991), 64–6; Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 86–7.

(170) Ibid.,, 87; Brigden, London, 74; and cf. below, n. 227.

(171) T. Becon, The governance of vertue (1566), title-page, sigs. A4r–8r, and pp. 1r–5v; and cf. above, Ch. 5, 124.

(172) Becon, Governance of vertue, pp. 83r–v, 74v–78r, 85v–92r, 100v–103r, 6v–9v, 34v–57r, 122v–126r, 134v–136v, 109r–122v, 103r–109r.

(173) R[obert] C[leaver], A godly form of householde government (1598), title-page, pp. 57– 88, 123– 83, and 184– 375; John Dod and Robert Cleaver, A plaine and familiar exposition of the ten commandements (1622), 4– 6; and Green, Christian's ABC, ch. 10.

(174) See Appendix 1 for Andrewes's Patterne of catechistical doctrine and the other works cited. As far as I am aware no detailed comparison of these works has been published, not even by Sears McGee in his Godly Man in Stuart England (New Haven and London, 1976); but cf. M. Todd, Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order (Cambridge, 1987), chs. 4– 6.

(175) See above, n. 152.

(176) See Appendix 1 for further details.

(177) DNB; Wakefield, Puritan Devotion, passim; Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 37; F. Heal and C. Holmes, The Gentry in England and Wales 1500– 1700 (1994), 369; Sommerville, Popular Religion, 34– 5.

(178) Heal and Holmes, Gentry, 369; Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 38, 42– 5, 49– 50, 60; DNB. Later in the century, when Bayly's reputation was under attack, the work was said to have been written largely by a godly puritan minister, from whose widow Bayly secured it on promise of a payment he never made: Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 40.

(179) Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 36– 40, 45, 52– 6; L. Bayly, The practise of pietie (1629), passim; and below, Appendix 1 for further details.

(180) Ward, Protestant Evangelical Awakening, 12, 48; Continental pietism in turn exerted influence of England through the Wesleys and their friends: ibid.,, ch. 8.

(181) Sommerville, Popular Religion, 35.

(182) For appeal to and use by the gentry, see below, nn. 185– 6; early editions were dedicated to the young Prince Charles.

(183) A point made to me by Dr Kenneth Fincham. These editions were probably mainly produced abroad in Holland: see STC2 1612 1614.5, 1619.5– 20, and Wing2 B1477, 1480.

(184) L. Bayly, The practice of pietie (1629), sig. A9v and passim; Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 41– 60.

(185) The frontispiece of the 1619 edition is reproduced on p. 362 of Heal and Holmes, Gentry.

(186) Heal and Holmes, Gentry, 361, 363– 4, 367– 9, 371.

(187) Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 62.

(188) See Appendix 1 for details; from the 1680s Holy living was regularly published in tandem with its partner, The rule and exercises of holy dying, and copies bound together (ibid.,). For a recent assessment of these works, see J. Taylor, ‘Holy Living’ and‘Holy Dying’, ed. P. G. Stannard (2 vols., Oxford, 1989), i, pp. xv–lxxiv; ii, pp. xiii–xxviii.

(189) [J. Taylor], The rule and exercises of holy living (1651), title-page, and sig. q3r. The text as opposed to the title-page and preface does not attack those in power, and the sections on bearing affliction and Taylor's own losses are not as bitter as might be expected.

(190) [J. Taylor], The rule and exercises of holy living (1651), passim; for a commercially inspired abridgement of Holy living and Holy dying in 1701, see Stannard, ‘Holy Living’, i, pp. liv–lv.

(191) His comments about justification through Christ alone in his exposition of the Creed in Golden grove would suggest the latter: Green, Christian's ABC, ch. 7 and cf. pp. 419–20, 472–5. For the charges against Taylor, see Allison, Rise of Moralism, chs. 3–4; and Sommerville, Popular Religion, 37, 95. See also below, n. 246.

(192) See above, n. 189; only four editions of Holy living appeared before 1660 compared to over twenty thereafter. For its influence on Wesley and others in the eighteenth century, see Rivers, ‘Dissenting and Methodist Books’, 155; and Stannard, ‘Holy Living’, i, pp. lv–lvi.

(193) Sommerville, Popular Religion, 37.

(194) See above, Ch. 6.ix; and Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 76.

(195) See above, Ch. 4, n. 12; Stranks's comment on Bayly (above, n. 187); and Sommerville, Popular Religion, 99, for the comment that later Stuart authors associated with what he sees as ‘moralism’ were ‘among the favourite authors of the time’.

(196) C. J. Sommerville, ‘On the Distribution of Religious and Occult Literature in Seventeenth-Century England’, The Library, 5th ser., 29 (1974), 225; Green, Christian's ABC, 586–7, 640–1.

(197) Spurr, Restoration Church, 283; Sommerville, Popular Religion, 23; Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 143, 125, 147–8; J. L. Salter, ‘The Books of an Early Eighteenth-Century Curate’, The Library, 33 (1978), 40–1.

(198) [R. Allestree], The whole duty of man (1668), title-page, sig. A3r, and passim; Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 124–6, 136; Spurr, Restoration Church, 282– 3; Keeble, Baxter, 38; R. C. Monk, John Wesley: His Puritan Heritage (1966), 257 (but cf. Sommerville, Popular Religion, 39).

(199) Spurr, Restoration Church, 283– 4.

(200) Sommerville, Popular Religion, 38.

(201) Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 125, 147– 8; and my Christian's ABC, 419– 20, 472– 5. See also Spurr, Restoration Church, chs. 6– 7.

(202) See above, p. 301; and Allestree, Whole duty of man, sigs. A7v–11r, and pp. 53– 4, 85, 158.

(203) For moral philosophy, see below, Ch. 7.iii; and on courtesy books and civility, K. Charlton, Education in Renaissance England (1965), 82– 5; L. B. Wright, Middle-Class Culture in Elizabethan England (Chapel Hill, 1935), ch. 5 and pt. ii generally; D. Bush, English Literature in the Earlier Seventeenth Century (Oxford, 1962), 331–4; and Stannard, ‘Holy Living’, i, pp. xliv, xlvii–li.

(204) [R. Allestree], The whole duty of man (1671), title-page, sigs. A2r, A3r–v, and passim.

(205) [R. Allestree], The whole duty of man (1671), sigs. A3v–12r, and pp. 47– 8, 62– 72, 109– 19, 375– 474.

(206) Ibid.,, passim; for further points on the road towards accessibility, see Gouge's Christian directions and Rawlet's Christian monitor—discussed below.

(207) The copies I examined were the 1687 and 1705 editions of Allestree's The gentlemans calling, and the 1673 of The ladies calling; the first and third are in the British Library, the second the Bodleian.

(208) See above, n. 203.

(209) T. Brookes, Apples of gold for young men and women (1672), title-page, sigs.A2r–v, and passim; Sommerville, Popular Religion, 47.

(210) [T. Gouge], The young man's guide (1672), 1– 6, and passim.

(211) T. Gouge, Christian directions (1664), sigs. A2r–3v, and passim; and DNB. On Charity Schools and Sunday Schools, see Green, Christian's ABC, 172– 3, 179– 82, 242, 275– 6; W. M. Jacob, Lay People and Religion in the Early Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, 1996), 161– 72; and T. Laqueur, Religion and Respectabil-ity: Sunday Schools and Working Class Culture (New Haven and London, 1976).

(212) J. Rawlet, The Christian monitor (1696), sig. F3v.

(213) Ibid.,, title-page, and p. 3.

(214) Ibid.,, p. 4; and as n. 212.

(215) J. Rawlet, The Christian monitor (1696), pp. 24, 45, 36, 38; and DNB.

(216) Rawlet, Christian monitor, 51, and see above, p. 92.

(217) Spurr, Restoration Church, p. 285; Rawlet, Christian monitor, pp. 331, 6– 38, 7.

(218) Rawlet, Christian monitor, 9– 11, 30, and sig. F1r.

(219) R. Alleine, Vindiciae pietatis (1664), title-page, sig. A2r, and passim.

(220) R. Lucas, Practical Christianity (1683), sig. A2r, p. 26, and passim.

(221) A. Horneck, The happy ascetick (1699), passim.

(222) J. Kettlewell, The measures of Christian obedience (1687), title-page, sigs. A4r–v, a2r, and passim.

(223) J. Scott, The Christian life (1686), title-page, sig. A6r, pp. 396, 399– 436, and passim; for the later parts, see Appendix 1 below.

(224) For some other works on the reasonableness of Christianity, see above, pp. 236– 7.

(225) N. Lee Beaty, The Craft of Dying: A Study in the Literary Tradition ofArs Moriendiin England (New Haven, 1970), ch. 1; Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 313– 27.

(226) Beaty, Craft of Dying, 9– 34.

(227) Ibid.,, 108– 9, 111– 12, 130, 149– 51.

(228) Ibid.,, ch. 3; T. Becon, Sycke mans salve (1572), sig. A5v, and pp. 146– 7, 143– 4, 141, 168– 9, 427, 423– 4, 429– 30; R. Houlbrooke, ‘The Puritan Deathbed, c.1560– c.1660’, in C. Durston and J. Eales (eds.), The Culture of English Puritanism, 1560– 1700 (Basingstoke, 1996), 124. For other works by Becon, see Green, Christian's ABC, 592– 3.

(229) Beaty, Craft of Dying, 447, 449– 50.

(230) Bunny, Booke of Christian exercise (1585), 100– 20; and cf. Beaty, Craft of Dying, ch. 4.

(231) Beaty, Craft of Dying, 184; Bunny, Booke of Christian exercise, 425– 58.

(232) Beaty, Craft of Dying, 185– 6.

(233) W. Perkins, A salve for a sicke man (1595), title-page; the text used—Eccles. 7: 1—was also used for funeral sermons (see Ch. 4.vii above).

(234) Perkins, Salve, p. 57, and passim; and id., Foundation of Christian religion (1590), sigs. A2r–3v; Houbrooke, ‘Puritan Deathbed’, 125– 42. In theory the ‘godly’ objected to the dying confessing to a priest, but as Houlbrooke's account shows ‘godly’ clergy were regularly present to encourage full confession of sins.

(235) G. Powel, The resolved Christian (1600), title-page, and p. 69, and 1– 150 passim.

(236) Powel, Resolved Christian, 151– 302. Powell regularly told the ‘godly’ of the persecution they might face, but the message that God was ready to receive repentant sinners, and the active verbs used to describe what to do to obtain remission of sins, are not explicitly predestinarian.

(237) See below, Ch. 7.vii.

(238) These comments are based on the 1618 edition of [C. Sutton], Disce mori in the British Library.

(239) Ibid.,, title-page, sigs. A6r–7r.

(240) Ibid.,, p. 304 and passim.

(241) STC2 23364– 5, and 6934– 34.5;on the latter, see Watt, Cheap Print, 290, 312.

(242) Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 59, and cf. 42– 6, 50– 61.

(243) See Appendix 1 for further details; the editions I consulted were the 1631 and the 1638.

(244) The edition used of J. Taylor, The rules and exercises of holy dying was the 1651 in the Bodleian. For discussion, see Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 86– 95; Beaty, Craft of Dying, ch. 5 (where the work is seen as the climax of the medieval tradition); and Stannard, ‘Holy Living’, ii. pp. xiii–xxi.

(245) Taylor, Holy dying (1651), sigs. a ivr–v (and see above, n. 203).

(246) Ibid.,, sig. A5r, and passim; Stranks, Anglican Devotion, 93; Stannard, ‘Holy Living’, ii. pp. xliii–lv.

(247) J. Fox, Time and the end of time (1683), title-page; and see Appendix 1 below.

(248) E. Pearse, The great concern (1692), title-page, pp. 1, 58– 9, 38– 9; for the different attributions see British Library Catalogue and Calamy Revised, 384.

(249) A. Jones, The dying mans last sermon ([1681– 4]), passim; and cf. Appendix 1.

(250) A. Jones, Death triumphant (1681), opposite title-page, and passim.

(251) See below, p. 442, and Appendix 1.

(252) C. Drelincourt, The Christians defence against the fears of death (1675), title-page, sig. A1v, and passim.

(253) W. Sherlock, A practical discourse concerning death (1690), passim.

(254) Ibid.,, 248, 74, 6– 7, 10– 35. There was also an occasional swipe at Calvinist doctrine: ibid.,, 185– 6, 273– 4.

(255) Pearse, Great concern, sigs. A3v–4v. In the second group was Baxter's Now or never, and The great assize—presumably the work by Samuel Smith; and group three included S. Patrick, Hearts ease, and ‘Drexelius on Eternity’. For Michael Sparke's similar suggestion about giving books at funerals, see above, Ch. 1 n. 115.

(256) Pearse, Great concern, sigs. A3v–4v.

(257) See above, n. 130, and below, nn. 261– 2.

(258) Few works cited in this chapter had either frontispieces or illustrations: cf. Sutton's Disce mori, Taylor's Holy living and Holy dying, Baxter's Saints everlasting rest, and Hayward's Hell's everlasting flames. Memento mori, for example, were found more often in ballads and pamphlets, such as Death triumphant: see above, n. 250, and below, pp. 466– 7, and in New England, C. E. Hambrick-Stowe, The Practice of Piety (Chapel Hvill, 1982), 219– 23, 234– 5.

(259) These phrases are culled from the titles or texts of various works cited earlier in this chapter.

(260) This point will be developed below, in Ch. 10.

(261) For Kettlewell, see above, n. 198; for Law, Stranks, Anglican Devotion, ch. 7; for Wesley, Outler, Wesley, pp. viii–ix, 7, 37, 42, 45– 6, 61– 2, 79, 106– 7, 119, 162, 251– 2.

(262) Outler, Wesley, 162 n. 44; Monk, Wesley's Puritan Heritage, p. 32 n. 2, and p. 34; and Rivers, ‘Dissenting and Methodist Books’, 153.

(263) Monk, Wesley's Puritan Heritage, pt. 1 and Appendix 1.

(264) Ibid.,, 255– 62. Some works included in The Christian Library have been mentioned in earlier chapters of this monograph, such as the Westminster Shorter catechism (Ch. 4.vi) and Hall's Meditations (Ch. 5.xvi), or will be mentioned in a later, e.g. Herbert Palmer's Memorials, John Flavell's New compass, and Bunyan's Pilgrim's progress (below, Ch. 7): Monk, Wesley's Puritan Heritage, 42, 258– 62.

(265) For Bayly, see above, n. 180, and T. A. Campbell, The Religion of the Heart: A Study of European and Religious Life in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Columbia, SC, 1991), 82– 4.