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Providence in Early Modern England$

Alexandra Walsham

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208877

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208877.001.0001

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‘Englands Warning by Israel’: Paul's Cross Prophecy 1

‘Englands Warning by Israel’: Paul's Cross Prophecy 1

(p.281) 6 ‘Englands Warning by Israel’: Paul's Cross Prophecy1
Providence in Early Modern England

Alexandra Walsham

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter analyses the providential thinking which underpinned the preaching of the Israelite paradigm in the eighty-year interval between Elizabeth's accession and the end of Charles I's Personal Rule. The chapter explores various issues relating to providential preaching in the context of Jeremaid and Paul's Cross Prophecy. Whereas the Jeremiad preached a strong organic connection between society and self, that is the future of the community fused with the fate of the private citizen's soul, Prophetic preachers emphasized earthly welfare of their country and the heavenly welfare of each Christian dwelling within her. Moral outrage and jingoistic patriotism were exemplified and cited by semi-professional writers of that time. The chapter highlights the degree to which the preoccupations of prophetic preachers coincided with the habitual concerns of the authors and consumers of inexpensive ephemeral literature, and also examines the theology embodied in a representative sample of sermons.

Keywords:   prophetic preachers, Paul's Cross prophecy, providential preaching, Jeremaid, jingoistic patriotism, moral outrage, sermons

‘Israel and England, though they lye in a divers climat, may be said right Parallels; not so unfit in Cosmographicall, as fit in Theologicall comparison.’ So declared that most poetic of Jacobean preachers Thomas Adams at the beginning of a conventional sermon diagnosing the symptoms and forecasting the course of his nation's terminal ‘sicknesse’ in sin.2 This was so pithy and resonant an expression of the typological ‘similitude’3 between the ancient Hebrew and the modern English people that when John Jones, curate and lecturer at St Michael's Bassishaw, was summoned to perform at Paul's Cross in August 1630, he boldly stole it to enliven his own jeremiad, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem. 4

This homiletic genre indisputably found its most mature and polished form in the tradition of national morality sermons delivered from the open air pulpit in the churchyard of St Paul's Cathedral, a rostrum contemporaries revered as the ‘chiefest Watchtower’, the central ‘theater’, and the very ‘stage of this land’ (Plate 44).5 Yet preaching in the mould of the Old Testament prophets was also the staple fare of metropolitan, provincial, and rural congregations throughout the country. Alighting on key passages from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah, Hosea, Amos, and Joel, Protestant ministers told a cheerless tale of England's dismal prospects if the current epidemic of iniquity continued unchecked. Although these thunderous addresses were often ebulliently patriotic in tone, self-congratulation was usually overshadowed by self-castigation, by anxiety about the consuming collective judgement which assuredly loomed.

The final chapter of this book analyses the providential thinking which underpinned the preaching of the Israelite paradigm in the eighty-year interval between (p.282)

                   ‘Englands Warning by Israel’: Paul's Cross Prophecy                                               1

PLATE 44T[homas] B[rewer], The weeping lady: or, London like Ninivie in sack-cloth (London, 1625), sig. A3V

Elizabeth's accession and the end of Charles I's Personal Rule. It examines the theology embodied in a representative sample of the tiny fraction of sermons exploiting this potent analogy which found their way into print, and it highlights the degree to which the preoccupations of prophetic preachers coincided with the habitual concerns of the authors and consumers of inexpensive ephemeral literature.6 The static, typeset texts in which these fire and brimstone sermons are now constrained efface the fact that they were, above all, dramatic oral and physical performances. Indeed, this dynamic and charismatic brand of pulpit oratory provides compelling evidence that neither preaching nor providentialism was quite as alien and distasteful to the English people as some recent work has sought to persuade us they were.

The English jeremiad

(p.283) Until recently the English jeremiad has inhabited something of a scholarly lacuna. Easily eclipsed by the more exotic varieties of apocalyptic exegesis7 and regularly passed over in favour of the searching evangelical preaching which probed and assuaged the afflicted consciences of the ‘saints’,8 sermons which modelled themselves on the books of the major and minor Hebrew prophets may actually have been a more pervasive and influential form of clerical discourse than both.9 The neglect of this genre is all the more astonishing in view of the thriving industry devoted to its North American counterpart, and this may help to explain why historians of puritan New England have been tempted to register the patent and copyright of the prophetic mode across the Atlantic, implying that it was an indigenous species of Massachusetts rather than an import from the Mother Country conveyed in the original cargo of the Pilgrim Fathers' ships.10 Most students of the famous fast sermons preached to the Long Parliament between 1640 and 1649 have also ignored their ancestry in the searingly judgemental addresses delivered at Paul's Cross and other public venues.11 When Stephen Marshall and Edmund Calamy mounted the pulpit of St Margaret's Westminster to admonish the House of Commons about the dangers of national apostasy and the threat of heavenly vengeance they were not merely rehearsing the grim warnings of early Caroline preachers before Parliament like John Preston and Jeremiah Dyke, but echoing a pessimistic message which had been resounding in the ears of city audiences for nearly a century.12 Nor were such sermons a sudden innovation of the period after (p.284) 1558: they have recognizable prototypes in the preaching of Edwardian reformers like John Hooper, Hugh Latimer, and Thomas Lever at court and the Cross.13 With the restoration of Roman Catholicism under Mary I, this rousing prophetic rhetoric was forced into the alternative forum of print: its exiled exponents were obliged to exchange their lusty voices for the silence of the pen and the great national pulpit for a Continental press.14

Protestantism, moreover, in many respects merely provided a new ideological framework for an immemorial formulaic refrain. The dissection of vice, rebuke of estates, and summons to repentance had a venerable heritage in the vernacular preaching apud sanctum Paulum of the late Middle Ages.15 In a sermon delivered beneath the cathedral in 1375, Thomas Brinton, Benedictine monk and bishop of Norwich, took up the cry of Hosea and Amos, suggesting that sin was so omnipotent that ‘God who was accustomed to being English will abandon us’ (‘Deus qui solebat esse Anglicus a nobis recedit’).16 When the secular priest Thomas Wimbledon spoke from this podium in 1388 he too took on the mantle of a medieval Jeremiah and called upon all sorts of people to sanctify their lives. The fact that a printed version of this relic of popery, ‘allegedly Tounde out hyd in a wall’, ran through fifteen editions between 1550 and 1635 is not as surprising as it may initially seem: late Tudor and early Stuart prophetic preaching was no more than an elaborate set of variations on an ancient homiletic theme.17 The pattern of (p.285) predicting imminent calamity and scourging immorality can be traced back even further, to the turn of the millennium. Archbishop Wulfstan of York's ‘Sermon to the English’ (Sermo Lupi ad Anglos), dated 1014, is an urgent call to a country left desolate by Viking raids to repent, appease the wrath of God, and thereby lift the threat of total subjugation by the Danes.18

‘Ripping up’ the ‘raigning sinnes’ of the age remained the ‘usuall subject’ of sermons at Paul's Cross throughout the Elizabethan and Jacobean period, as William Procter, vicar at Upminster, Essex, observed in September 1624.19 There was no ‘more seasonable’ topic than the ‘preventing of the further and future judgements of God upon us, and our posteritie’, declared John Fosbroke, rector of the Northamptonshire parish of Cranford St Andrew, in the prologue to a withering exposition of Hosea v. 15 in 1617.20 These were evidently the cliches the delegated speaker was expected to serve up each week, and few failed to satisfy the unadventurous appetites of the hundred-or thousand-strong crowd. According to Prebendary Thomas Jackson, lecturing at Canterbury cathedral in the early 1620s, there was ‘no corner of the land, but for many yeeres hath rung with these warnings’.21

If such sermons followed an old-fashioned recipe, Protestant preachers can at least be accredited with refining it and adding flavour and spice. Elevating the art of scriptural typology to dizzy new heights, they pursued the comparison between England and the Old World prior to the Flood, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Assyrian capital Nineveh, the Asian Churches of Ephesus and Laodicea, and, above all, Israel far more systematically than ever before. Sixteenth-and seventeenth-century ministers treated their own nation and the Jews as exact contemporaries, close cousins, even identical twins. England had only to glance in the mirror of Holy Writ to see her own flaws and imperfections portrayed in stark relief and a terrifying premonition of her fate should she too disregard the Lord's fatherly chastisements and ‘alarums’. Therein, asserted George Webbe, preacher at Steeple Ashton in Wiltshire, ‘we may behold as in a glasse a lively picture of this our land in which wee live’, a perfect allegory and emblem of her history and future.22 After the accession of James I and the partial union with Scotland many ministers subtly adjusted this Anglocentric paradigm in a direction that was more politically correct. ‘Therefore as Hosea said to Judah,’ admonished Alexander Udny, chaplain to the king and minister at Hawking in Kent, ‘loe I say to Britaine, (p.286) Heare the word of the Lord … for [he has] a controversie with the Inhabitants of the Land.’23

The clergy never ceased to be astounded at the accuracy with which the Hebrew prophets had delineated the appalling moral condition of a northern European island as remote from the biblical Middle East in miles as it was in millennia. It was ‘as if, reflected Thomas Jackson’, ‘they had been sent unto us’.24 The texts selected for such sermons might at first sight seem ‘matters of another Meridian, aloofe from us as farre as Shiloh, or Jerusalem’.25 But those who read the writings of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Daniel Price told an audience of courtiers in November 1612, would ‘beleeve that they prophecied purposely for this age, and this place wherein we breath’.26 Preaching in St Paul's one wintry Sunday in 1637 soon after the cessation of the plague, Obadiah Whitbie suggested that if Hosea had ‘uttered his Prophesie the last yeare, it would have beene hard to say, whether hee meant Israel or England: the Sceanes are the same, onely the Actors differ; both of us have beheld a Tragedy commenced in our owne blood: Jerusalem bore the first part, London the second’.27 It was the assumed interchangeability of past and present which made the ghastly predictions of these preachers so sinister.

So too did their conviction that they were the direct heirs and successors of Isaiah, Micah, and other Old Testament remembrancers, specially commissioned to deliver a stern and timely rebuke to a ‘sturdy and stiff-necked’, ‘obstinate and gaine-saying people’.28 They too had a special mandate to ‘strongly beate downe sinne’ with a ‘fierie tongue’ using ‘the terrible language of the law’, to lift up their voices like trumpets to reprove transgressors without regard to status or place.29 God's ministers must be Boanerges, sons of thunder, stressed the Berkshire clergyman Nathaniel Cannon in February 1613.30 They must be ‘plainedealing Amoses’, declared Richard Stock, curate of Allhallows, Bread Street, in 1606— not ‘flattring Amaziahs’ and ‘fawning Zedkiahs’ who coddled froward offenders, sowing pillows under their elbows, stroking their spleens, and preparing lectures consisting only of the soothing lullaby of ‘peace’.31 According to the Oxford divine (p.287) Francis White, the preacher was a mere envoy and amanuensis, the puppet of a divine ventriloquist: ‘God puts it into his mouth what hee shall say.’32 His sermons should therefore be esteemed as ‘vox Jehovae’, ‘the voyce of the ever living God’, speaking through him.33 Others described prophetic preachers as ‘experienced Chirurgions’ and ‘Surgeons of soules’, adept at lancing the ‘festered sores’ of the body politic and administering the ‘sharpe Corrasives’ and ‘holdsome medicines’ that would drag it back from its deathbed to a better state of health.34 Nothing but ‘bitter potions, a rough hand, and desperate remedies’, stressed John Downame, rector of St Margaret's, Lothbury, could cure what was elsewhere described as the ‘generall infection’, ‘Leprosie’, and ‘Gangraena’ which was sweeping the nation.35 ‘Gods Deputy-Physicians’ first reviewed England's blessings, then excoriated her sins, and finally delivered a gloomy prognosis for the debilitating moral disease that was consuming her.36

The apple of His Eye

Like the Jews before them, the English were deemed to be a uniquely favoured race. ‘What had the Israelites that wee have not?’, demanded the episcopal chaplain Robert Johnson in September 1609; ‘our land is machable with theirs in every respect’, he felt bound to reply.37 The Lord had showered it with earthly commodities far surpassing those He had vouchsafed to her Continental neighbours, a veritable embarrassment of riches. Blessed with ‘the dewe of heaven’, it was as if He had set her in a new Garden of Eden, a terrestrial Paradise, an Elysium.38 England, like Canaan, was a ‘land flowing with milke and hony’, ‘wheat and barley’; it was ‘the eye of Europe, and store-house of Christendome’.39 Successively governed by three incomparable monarchs, she remained a haven and an oasis of peace. ‘[W]hereas other Nations doe ride even up into their horsebridles in blood,’ Daniel Donne observed in 1622, ‘wee through the great Goodnesse of God, sit every man under his owne Vine’ in freedom.40 While France, Germany, and Holland groaned under the sword and were Overwhelmed with ‘the Deluge and Inundation of Warre’, reflected Thomas Fuller later that decade, ‘this little fleece of ours hath (p.288) beene dry’.41 Preachers rarely omitted to remind their listeners how lucky they were to be living in such ‘Halcion-dayes’ when countries across the Channel had become ‘the cockpits for all Christendome to fight their battles in’.42 England had been preserved like ‘a cottage in a vinyard’, ‘a lodge in a garden of coucumbers’.43 They always made space for a brief survey of the providential mercies the Almighty had bestowed upon His ‘beleaguered isle’ of Great Britain: Elizabeth's triumphant accession to the throne in 1558, the miraculous defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the nation's eleventh-hour deliverance from the ‘gunpowder gulfe’ on 5 November 1605.44

As far as spiritual privileges were concerned, England had been entrusted with that ‘most precious Jewell’ and pearl, the Word.45 Brought out of the Babylonish captivity of Roman Catholicism and retrieved from the ‘Pharaolik persecutions’ of the Marian regime, she now basked in the bright sunshine of Protestantism, surrounded, like the tiny land of Goshen, by a dark desert of Egyptian ignorance and superstition. According to Thomas Baughe, student of Christ Church, Oxford, there was ‘no nooke, nor angle of this He, where the language of the gospel is not heard’.46 What foreign country could boast ‘a more joyfull supply’ of learned ministers?, asked the London preacher Immanuel Bourne in June 1617; ‘neither hath Asia, Africa, America, and the most parte of Europa such knowledge and preaching of his lawes’ observed James Bisse.47 Elsewhere the truth was too often ‘mingled with the Cockle and Darnell of Popish errors and traditions’, but at home only the pure essence would do.48 In this respect, the English even outclassed the Hebrews: ‘They were Alphabetarii and Abecedarii’ declared John Jones, ‘young beginners, learning their ABC under the tutorship of the law’. They merely ‘had the shadow, wee the substance,’ echoed Dr Sebastian Benefield, ‘they the candle-light, we the noone-day; they had the breakfast of the Law, fit for the morning of the world, we the dinner of the Gospel, fit for the high-noone thereof’.49

(p.289) England, maintained the Lincolnshire minister Robert Milles, was thus a ‘Princesse among Provinces’; the Lord ‘never was neerer to any’, gloated John Lawrence, from the Creation to the present.50 She was his ‘Signet’ and spouse, William Whately informed a congregation at Banbury in 1623, ‘which he hath fostered as tenderly, and adorned as graciously as ever he did Judea’.51 Preaching at Paul's Cross in January 1612, Dr Thomas Sutton proclaimed in his Englands summons'. ‘You are at this day, and long have beene, the astonishment and wonderment of all the world. God hath opened the windowes of Heaven wider, and offered more grace unto you … then to all the Nations under the canopy and roofe of heaven.’52 Occasionally preachers issued a caveat about the dangers of arrogant conceit: ‘wee are the people with whom he hath chosen to dwell for ever,’ declared John Udall, yet we must not ‘waxe insolent’ because we ‘excell others’.53

Such expressions of ‘divine Anglophilia’ certainly suggest that prophetic preaching helped to enhance the incipient nationalism of early modern England, promoting sentiments that could be insular, chauvinistic, and ethnocentric in the extreme.54 In the privacy of their vestries and studies, the majority of Protestant ministers may have been scrupulously ecumenical in their outlook, the first to admit that their native country was only part of the vineyard of Christ, no more than a supporting actress in an apocalyptic drama being played out on the international stage. In the pulpit, however, it was all too easy to succumb to jingoistic hyperbole and accord her a starring role in the cosmic struggle against the papal Antichrist. Especially when they preached on patriotic holidays, many were apt to throw caution to the wind and imply that England was not merely one elect Church among many, but the Lord's own peculiar people and the very apple of His eye.55 In practice, as opposed to the theory of academic elites, then, the balance (p.290) was constantly being tipped. Uneducated listeners could be forgiven for thinking that the clergy were telling them that God was an Englishman, and their green and pleasant land His preferred place of abode.56 John McKenna has argued that this pious myth had its origins in the political theology evolved during the Hundred Years War—a political theology which itself had been purloined from the Valois and Capetian publicists of thirteenth-century France. But Wulfstan's Sermo Lupi ad Anglos suggests it was already embryonic in the Anglo-Saxon era. A medieval commonplace brought out of mothballs to bolster every subsequent dynastic clash and crusade, this bellicose slogan continued to be confidently rearticulated long after the advent of Protestantism, whenever hostile invaders menaced British coasts.57

The Achans troubling Israel

Having puffed up their auditors with patriotic pride, these Elizabethan and early Stuart Jeremiahs then proceeded to prick them with a pin. Our benefits have beene greater, then ever were bestowed upon any nation excepting neither one or other: ‘& do we walke worthy of them?’, asked the puritan activist John Field.58 Manifestly no. ‘England hath received much,’ observed James Bisse, ‘therefore of England much shalbe required.’59 She had incurred a massive debt of gratitude which she made scarcely any effort to repay, returning not so much as a ‘little mite’ or tithe of the love and thanks she owed.60 Just as the children of Israel had become sated with the taste of heavenly manna and turned back to the flesh-pots of Egypt, so had the children of England grown ‘crop sicke’ of God's Word and developed a partiality for the ‘garlicke and onions’ of sin.61 Dozens of preachers used the parable of the barren fig tree to castigate their country's failure to yield the sweet fruits of righteousness and faith: this lovingly tended vineyard had bred sour grapes, weeds of disobedience, and the ‘hellish bramble’ of impiety instead.62 In scale and enormity England's iniquities were ‘no whit inferiour’ to those of the Old World, Sodom, Gomorrah, Tyre, Nineveh, and Israel herself: ‘surely ours are as impudente and sawcy as ever were theirs’, John King asserted in York in 1594.63 (p.291) According to Adam Hill, prebendary of Salisbury, they were even more inexcusable than those of the Jews: ‘To stumble in the night it is dangerous, but to fall backward in the light of the Gospell is damnable.’64 Sin was not confined to ‘some private corners’ but dared to ‘jett up and downe the streets’; it was ‘not onely committed’, bellowed the Jacobean Boanerges Thomas Barnes, ‘but also taught, as in a Schoole’.65 Having swelled to giant size ‘like unto Goliah’, it now stank ‘in the nosethrills of Almighty God’, and the city of London was undoubtedly its ‘Pontificall seat’—‘a whirlpoole’ and ‘sinke’ of every imaginable variety of evil and vice.66

What were the ‘capitall crimes’ of which these Paul's Cross prophets convicted England week after week?67 It was conventional to divide her ‘crimson’, ‘scarlet’, ‘darling’, and ‘crying sinnes’ into two categories: ‘privative’ and ‘positive’.68 Echoing Hosea iv. 1, ministers opened the case for the prosecution by contending that there was ‘no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land’: injustice, corruption, and hypocrisy were endemic; charity and compassion had fled; ignorance and atheism prevailed.69 Like lukewarm Laodicea, too many professed the Protestant religion with apathy rather than zeal.70 As for transgressions of the Ten Commandments, they were ‘more than can bee numbred by any Arithmetician’ and ‘greater then can be measured by any Geometrician’.71 Most preachers rattled off a predictable list of moral offences—pride, adultery, idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, cursing, sabbath-breaking, covetousness, murder, theft, and oppression of the poor—disagreeing only about which should be labelled ‘the very ringleader of the rest’. Thomas Barnes's Wise-mans forecast allocated this dubious honour to ‘monstrous ingratitude and horrible unthankefulnesse for Gods favours’, number one in a litany of twenty-two wrath-provoking sins.72 Some examined each (p.292) item in the inventory in exhaustive detail; others ran through the ‘beaderowle’ with ‘a Laconicall brevitie’; the Suffolk parson Abraham Gibson devoted the entire two hours he was allocated at the Cross in 1613 to ‘decyphering out’ just one ‘dangerous wound’ and ‘notorious impietie’—‘vaine swearing’.73

In anatomizing such abuses preachers did not normally place themselves at political risk. Yet insofar as they maintained that ‘the Lord regards not so much what the particular sins of a Nation or Church are, as what the action, the behaviour, the cariage of the state towards them is’, the Israelite paradigm was instrinsically seditious.74 Individuals who winked at prostitution, alehouse-haunting, or May games were as guilty as the offenders themselves, and this included magistrates and monarchs no less than the rude and vulgar multitude. ‘Who (but a Cain)’, cried Thomas Adams, ‘is not his Brothers Keeper?’75 It was during the 1620s and 1630s, when many Calvinists became convinced that the Caroline government was not merely conniving at popery and profanation of the Lord's Day but actively enjoining these abominations, that this sermon genre fulfilled its subversive potential. Mainstream puritan ministers like Daniel Featley began to open ‘Pandora's boxe’, and to use their scalpels to lance ‘publicke sores’ rather than ‘pricke at … private wheales’.76 Insisting that the real danger to England was not ‘forraine foes’ but ‘home-bred sinnes’, the enemy within,77 dissident preachers adapted the jeremiad to attack the projected Spanish marriage, to berate royal policies that involved turning a cold shoulder upon embattled Protestants in the Palatinate and Bohemia, and to assail the creeping cancer of Arminianism—in the eyes of the godly, a kind of Counter-Reformation by stealth. Thomas Gataker sailed close to the wind in his Sparke toward the kindling of sorrow for Sion on Amos vi. 6 in 1621, suggesting that a country which showed no compassion for its afflicted brethren on the Continent could hardly expect pity at the hands of its God.78 Provocative sermons like this induced James I to issue his Directions in August 1622, to repress the ‘abuses and extravagances’ which seemed to be running rife in contemporary preaching.79 But these sharp measures did not keep the lid on this (p.293) volatile brand of biblical rhetoric for very long. Selected to address Parliament on the occasion of the public fast in April 1628, Jeremiah Dyke, vicar of Epping, dared to denounce ‘the growth of Popery and Idolatry’ and ‘the departure of our old Truth in the increase of Arminanisme’ as the source of the catastrophe looming over England. He urged his audience to carry out their duty as ‘the publique Arke-wrights for the safety of this Church and state’ and take immediate action to remove these ‘nationall provocations’ and ‘Judasses’.80 And John Preston had expected to receive ‘Micaiah's enterteynment’ (solitary confinement in prison) for a particularly searching prophetic sermon he planned to deliver at Whitehall the previous year, but he was muzzled before he mounted the pulpit at the behest of the bishops.81

Yet no one was more outspoken than Henry Burton, that well-known troublemaker and agent provocateur. In a treatise entitled Israels fast dedicated to Charles I and that ‘great Colledge of Physitians’, the House of Commons, in 1628, he boldly took up the text of Joshua vii, the story of the sin of Achan and the trespass of the ‘accursed thing’. Presenting it as ‘a faire Precedent for these Times’, he lashed out angrily against a faction which laboured ‘under the seemely vaile and Matron like habit of the Church of England … to bring in that old Babylonish strumpet’ Rome ‘hoodwinkt’ and ‘to draw us to some friendly commerce and correspondence with that Whoore’. To his mind there were ‘two maine Troublers of Israel’, two reasons why the nation was teetering on the edge of ‘a Precipice’—‘to wit, Antichristian Idolatry, and Arminian Heresie’. Expressed through the medium of the clandestine press, Burton's opinions were already beyond the pale. This blunt and uncompromising indictment of the Stuart regime resulted in a rough interrogation before the High Commission at William Laud's instigation.82 After the clampdown on political preaching prior to and during the Personal Rule, these incendiary themes largely ceased to find a safe outlet and conduit at Paul's Cross and became something of a rallying cry of the Caroline underground. Historically supplied by preachers appointed by the bishop of London and approved in times of crisis by the Privy Council, the Cross was always, to a greater or lesser extent, an organ of the authorities. In the 1630s, as Nicholas Tyacke has shown, it evolved into an increasingly accurate barometer of the current doctrinal climate and of prevailing ideological trends.83

(p.294) The identification of England's ‘sword-procuring sinnes’, then, often pushed prophetic preachers into direct confrontation with the ecclesiastical establishment.84 Yet, at least before the ascendancy of Laud, it would be a mistake to suppose that ‘puritans’ completely monopolized this exegetical mode, or that the portions of the Bible upon which jeremiads were based were without exception employed as a ‘yardstick’ by which to judge and criticize the status quo.85 In the Elizabethan and early Jacobean period, Hosea, Joel, and Amos were not ‘a touchstone of dissent’, the exclusive property of a nonconformist fringe.86 Paul's Cross prophecy could in fact be a vehicle for vilifying the ‘precise’ and for celebrating the ‘but halfly reformed’ institution they maligned and decried. In September 1593, Adam Hill inveighed against Martin Marprelate, ‘Anabaptisticall Schismatiques’, and other young rebels who murmured against their spiritual fathers, the prelates. Three years later Stephen Gosson, reformed playwright and actor and now parson of Great Wigborough in Essex, reviled the ‘wrangling humor of the Presbyterie’, which ‘with her belly full of barking libels’ set out to disgrace the episcopal hierarchy: the printed text was dedicated, tellingly, to Bishop Richard Bancroft. And in 1607 Dr Martin Fotherby, archdeacon of Canterbury, denounced those who endeavoured by ‘a colourable pretence of reformation’ to undermine the ‘blazing starre’ and ‘glorious beauty’ of the early Stuart Church—as might have been expected from a royal chaplain, preaching on November the fifth. When Robert Johnson, who served Bishop William Barlow of Lincoln in the same capacity, addressed the Paul's Cross crowd in September 1609, he was even more scathing about ‘lawlesse Sectuaries’ who wrested ‘the Scriptures as a nose of wax’ to uphold their ‘unchristian discipline’ and christened their children with ludicrous names like ‘More tryall’, ‘Free gift’, and ‘From above’.87 A decade later the parameters of the debate were beginning to change, but we can still find Griffith Williams, dean of Bangor, condemning Thomas Cartwright and his disciples as a ‘brood of vipers’ in a sermon on The mysteries of the rainbow by which God had sealed His covenant with erring humanity after the Flood. Already notorious for his High Church sympathies, Williams would later apply the number 666 to the Solemn League and Covenant and denounce puritanism as an invention of Antichrist. During a series delivered partly at court and partly in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Thomas Jackson, a grateful recipient of the patronage of William Laud and Richard Neile, adapted the allegory of the withered fruit tree (Luke xiii. 6–9) to expostulate against the ‘misguided zeale’ of those who considered extreme ‘contrariety to Romish superstition’ the very kernel of the Reformed religion: (p.295) ‘Antarcticks they are, & thinke they can never be farre enough from the North-pole untill they runne from it unto the Southpole, and pitch their habitation in terrâ incognitâ in a world and Church unknowne to the ancients.’ Lecturing on another occasion in front of the King, he brusquely dismissed the transgressions which some malcontents ‘conceive[d]’ to be the only cause of his displeasure with Britain: ‘connivance’ at Catholicism and ‘to much favouring Arminianisme’.88 Turning the tables, Laudians ranked ardent Calvinism and ferocious anti-popery at the top of the list of sins for which the Lord had a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless, by the late 1630s, prophetic preaching had acquired distinctly sectarian connotations and overtones which the turmoil of the Civil War and Interregnum served both to reinforce—and also, as we shall see—to splinter and fragment.89

With cords of vanity and cart ropes

However they diagnosed their nation's failings, preachers from across the spectrum agreed that iniquity drew down a heavy retributive sentence from heaven, as with ‘cords of vanity’ and ‘cart ropes’.90 ‘Mans sinne and Gods wrath’, maintained Thomas Gataker, were as inseparable as ‘needle and thred’.91 Heinous transgressions put ‘oyle to the flame’ of the deity's displeasure; ‘with a false key’ they opened ‘the doore to vengeance’ and pulled down ‘a sudden Babel of confusion’ upon men's heads.92 If God had not spared His ‘owne darlings’ of Israel, George Webbe demanded one summer morning in 1609, what hope did wicked England have of escaping scot-free? Did His adopted children have a greater privilege to sin than ‘his owne inheritance, and peculiar people’, the Jewrs?93 If the Lord had lopped the ‘natural branches’ how could the ‘wild olives’ grafted on later evade the same fate?94 As inevitably as its Old Testament prototype, the nation would be extirpated by a plague of apocalyptic proportions. For most Paul's Cross prophets, this was less a hypothesis than a fait accompli.

This biblical parallel became ever more menacing as the official Reformation receded further and further into the past. As their subjective sense of the scandal of popular contempt for the doctrinal tenets and ethical values of Protestantism intensified, so did the preachers' alarm about the hovering holocaust. James (p.296) Pilkington was already castigating his contemporaries for their ‘cold slacknesse’ and ‘slothful negligence’ in erecting the kingdom of Christ in the early 1560s;95 a decade later Edward Bush pondered the consequences of ‘our backslyding and backstarting from God’;96 1578 saw John Stockwood, headmaster at Tonbridge School, deploring the unholy lifestyles of the majority after no less than twenty years of painful preaching;97 Anthony Anderson and James Bisse were bewailing the fact that England was waxing weary of the Gospel and relapsing, with ‘a catholike cooling’ of its former zeal, into profanity and paganism in 1581.98 Time ticked away and 1595 found William Perkins reproving a generation as perverse and unenlightened as its popish ancestors and rehearsing the familiar grievance that religion was made ‘a by-word’ and ‘a mocking-stocke’.99 Notwithstanding how many evangelists had been sent ‘these foure and forty yeares togither, to instruct us’, notwithstanding the thousands of sermons delivered, declared the Oxford divine Robert Wakeman in June 1602, ‘yet we lie still frozen in the dregges of our iniquities’.100 ‘Never more Preaching and lesse practising’, lamented Sampson Price in March 1616, parallelling apostate England with the unfaithful Church of Ephesus.101 Such ministers were continually recalculating how long God had restrained His itching fingers, constantly adding days, weeks, and months to their mental tally of His forbearance and their country's contumacy.102 ‘I know, there was never age not complained of, not judged as worst’, observed Thomas Adams, but he and his colleagues were convinced that in their case this homiletic platitude was true.103

The theme was as infinitely extendible as the nation's obstinate persistence in sin and the Lord's astonishing patience with it. For, like a tender-hearted father, He did not relish their destruction, but rather strove to reclaim them to the fold like the prodigal son, perpetually deferring the death sentence in expectation of a belated reformation. The clergy continued to ‘marvaile’ at such long-suffering.104 More than once, stressed Perkins in a lacerating sermon on Zephaniah ii. 1–2 (‘Search your selves, even search you, O Nation, not worthy to be beloved …’), God had prepared His sword for slaughter, and then, overcome with revulsion, (p.297) returned it to the sheath. He had ‘stayed his birth even in the verie travell, and we have escaped, even as a man, whose necke hath beene upon the blocke’ might be granted a last-minute reprieve.105 Paradoxically, however, His procrastination only ensured that the general judgement, when it came, would be even more far-reaching and complete: the slower they were in starting the more terrible His swipes would be; the longer an arrow was held in the bow, the swifter the shot when it was eventually released. Arthur Dent summed this up in a piece of proverbial wisdom: ‘though God have Leaden feete, and commeth slowely to execute wrath, yet hath he an Iron hand, and will strike deadly when hee commeth.’106 The Lord did not resort automatically to ‘Martiall law’ like some draconian dictator. He adopted ‘a judiciall forme of proceeding’, sending out His preachers to serve the people with a ‘summons’ and a ‘sub-poena from the Star Chamber of Heaven’, issuing them with a formal ultimatum and ‘proclamation of warre’.107 ‘Gods Methode’ could be compared with the tactics employed by the Tartar conqueror Tamburlaine before besieging a city: He too displayed three flags in succession, white for mercy, red for threat, and black for imminent massacre and death.108

According to Jeremiah Dyke nothing riled the Almighty more than wilful disregard of the ‘warning peeces’ He fired in the ‘whetting time’ before the stubborn disobedience of a chosen people forced Him to discharge His ‘murdering peeces’.109 Ignoring the lesser punishments and prodigies by which He sought to coax a community from sin was akin to collective suicide. No less assiduously than moralistic journalists did such preachers enumerate the providential omens and meteorological anomalies, strange wonders, and natural calamities that foreshadowed the far greater catastrophe to come; no less obsessively did they seek to decode the ‘Monitory language’ of these ‘John Baptists of Judgement’.110 England's Jeremiahs seem to have regularly plundered cheap newsprint for fresh evidence of God's escalating anger and fury. The burning of St Paul's Cathedral, the ‘solemn assize’ (p.298) at Oxford, the ‘great earthquake’, Halley's comet, and the famous ‘book-fish’ all found their way into jeremiads.111 Alluding to the annual crop of monstrous births, spectral armies, frightening sights, violent storms, double tides, desolating floods, and fatal accidents, John King declared in 1594 that ‘the moneths of the year have yet gone about, wherein the Lord hath bowed the heavens, and come downe amongst us with more tokens and earnests of his wrath intended, then the agedest man of our land is able to recount of so small a time’. ‘Wee have not altered the colour of the hayre of our heades, nor added one inch to our stature since all these things have been accomplished amongst us.’112 The catalogue of alarming portents John Fosbroke compiled for Englands warning by Israel and Judah also included the untimely demise of ‘that peerlesse Paragon of pietie, and all princely vertues, Prince Henry of happie memorie’.113 After 1618, when military events on the Continent began to gather momentum, preachers began to meditate ever more anxiously on the fact that God had unleashed only two of His three lethal ‘arrowes’ against England. Having had first-hand experience of scarcity and pestilence, could there be any question that she too would taste of the bitter cup of a war of attrition? Only a small strip of water divided the island from the bloody battlefield which so much of mainland Europe had become. The Angel of the Lord had ‘poured out his viall of red wine’ on the Protestants of Germany and France, Daniel Featley proclaimed in the late 1620s: ‘our sinnes as it were holloe to him to stretch his hand over the narrow sea, and cast the dregges of it on us, who have been long settled upon our lees: and undoubtedly this will be our potion to drinke’.114 The Civil War, when it came in 1642, can have been no surprise to those who reiterated and internalized this menacing theme: it was simply the fulfilment of half a century of clerical predictions.

Yet all such subsidiary judgements, even armed conflict, were ‘sweet’. They were ‘Medicinale, not mortale’, proof of the Lord's enduring paternal interest in the nation's welfare and health.115 Returning full circle, preachers suggested that in ‘al the store-house of Gods plagues’ there was no sorer punishment, no more sinister ‘prognosticant’, than spiritual insensibility and sin. According to Alexander (p.299) Udny, England's intransigence was itself ‘one evident token’ of God's wrath.116 When the Lord withdrew His restraining grace and left a country to wallow in its own iniquity, then was it all too clearly on the brink of extinction.

A famine of the word and the leaven in the lump

What was the supreme penalty which these jeremiads were designed to deflect and circumvent? Scripture offered a wide range of gruesome possibilities: the Flood which overwhelmed the Old World, drowning every living creature under fifteen cubits of water;117 the brutal overthrow of the flourishing Phoenician mercantile city of Tyre by God's scourge, King Nebuchadnezzar;118 the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, consumed to ashes by sulphurous flames and reduced to a breeding place of nettles and salt pits—so suddenly, said Robert Gray, that none of their citizens dreamt ‘of such an hot service, as to have fire and brimstone to their breakfast’.119 Naturally, however, it was on the fate of ancient Israel that most Paul's Cross prophecy tended to pivot. In Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos, Elizabethan and early Stuart ministers discovered a blueprint of the doom they believed would presently overtake England: the Almighty would pluck up the hedge of His vineyard, lay it open to the prey of its enemies, and then wipe it from the face of the earth. He would renounce His once preferred people, saying ‘Lo-ammi … I will not be your God’, and inflict a debilitating famine of the Word upon the land.120 Others alighted on the analogues of these stinging comminations in the New Testament: the Lord's curse against the Church of Laodicea (because ‘thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth’);121 Christ's drastic verdict (p.300) against the barren fig tree (‘Cut it down’);122 and the threat that He would confiscate the golden candlestick of the Gospel and bestow it upon a more deserving race.123 The idea that God had relinquished all hope of England's recovery and was preparing to dispossess it of this inestimable gift reverberated in urban and rural pulpits from the early days of the Reformation onwards, and the brief restoration of Roman Catholicism under Queen Mary provided later preachers of the paradigm with an ominous precedent. Would their tiny island ruin its second chance to prove itself a worthy guardian of Protestantism?124 ‘Can it be that the Lord wil trust us any longer with a Lease of his garden?’, asked Bartimaeus Andrewes, vicar of the Suffolk parish of Wenham, in 1583.125 If the English gave the true religion ‘no better welcome & entertainment’ than the Israelites and Romanists, warned Robert Wakeman in 1602, God would soon translate it to the Tartarians and Moors. He would instruct His prophets to arise, abandon their flocks in Yorkshire, Essex, and Kent, and travel to India, Turkey, and Barbary instead.126 Like the seven famous churches of Asia, George Webbe suggested seven years later, their native country would become fit only for ‘the Satyrs’ and ‘the Screechowle to lodge in, even a cage of uncleane and lothsome birds’—even, added John Downame, ‘a Synagogue of Sathan’.127

As the seventeenth century progressed, the cry that God was leaving England for greener pastures was uttered in increasingly panic-stricken tones. As Arminianism secured a vice-like grip on the ecclesiastical hierarchy, as puritan preachers were silenced and deprived, as the godly watched their neighbours and pastors set sail for the Netherlands and North America, the theme of desertion swelled to a threnody.128 Jeremiah Dyke traced the Lord's retreating ‘foote-steps’ in a parliamentary fast sermon in 1628, as did Thomas Hooker in a lecture delivered in Chelmsford on the eve of his own exodus, first to Holland and later to Boston, in 1631: ‘I will deal plainly with you. As sure as God is God, God is going from England.’ ‘[L]ook to it,’ he told his devoted hearers, ‘God is packing up of his gospel, because none will buy his wares’—perhaps no prophet warned of His departure more poignantly.129 And it was a message which the Laudian hierarchy came to regard it as essential to suppress: one of the charges levelled against Samuel (p.301) Ward of Ipswich when he was summoned before the High Commission in 1634 was his insistence in a sermon that ‘religion and the gospel stood on tiptoes ready to be gone’.130

Yet this sentence of rejection, insisted the clergy, ‘was pronounced with a condicion, reserved in the minde of the judge’.131 It was provisional upon the failure of the English people to show themselves truly contrite—shedding ‘a few Crocodile teares’, said Thomas Cheaste of St Mary Hall sternly, would by no means suffice.132 Heartfelt penitence was a ‘shielde’ and a bulwark against supernatural wrath; ‘if wee can learne this spirituall language’, John Sedgwick informed his audience at St Botolph's without Bishopsgate around 1624, ‘we need not feare, the danger is past’.133 In the pulpit few preachers troubled themselves to spell out the precise theological implications of the axiom that the Lord not merely foresaw but preordained all acts of repentance. As we saw in Chapter 3, all too frequently they slipped into a rhetoric which sounded distinctly voluntaristic.134

The destiny of the nation, then, balanced on the knife-edge of ‘unless ye repent’. If England, like the imperial city of Nineveh, meekly humbled herself before the face of the Lord, He might just be induced to retract His awful decision to begin proceedings for divorce. A host of ministers—from Hugh Latimer to George Abbot—battered the ears of their auditors with the story of the lightning-quick conversion of the Assyrian capital, but the idea that their own nation might replicate its overnight transformation was beyond their wildest dreams.135 After just a single ‘pinching’ sermon by Jonah and only three short days of preaching it, this depraved metropolis had responded with startling alacrity: ‘many hundred Jonasses’ had cried in England's streets since the reign of Edward VI and still she refused to rectify her ways.136 Whereas the Ninevites had one ‘witness’, declared Jeremiah Dyke, we have had ‘a cloude’; whereas they were warned once, ‘we have beene warned unto wearinesse’; and while they were instructed by a stranger, the English had been admonished, not by some upstart Spaniard, but by their own (p.302) countrymen and coreligionists.137 ‘[E]nvironed’ on every side by the truth, concluded Francis White, ‘this little Hand of ours, is most without excuse’.138 Sermon connoisseurs must have grown thoroughly sick of having ‘ruffling Ninive, old and idolatrous Ninive’ elevated on a pedestal as ‘an example to us all’ and of being told that she would rise up against them in judgement at the Last Trump.139

But the Calvinist eschatology espoused by the self-appointed prophets of Protestant England constrained them from thinking of the universal reformation of all its inhabitants as anything other than an unattainable ideal.140 Sincere repentance was a grace God bestowed solely upon that virtuoso minority who were members of the invisible company of His predestinate elect. Therein lay the source of the conviction that the godly were the lifeblood of the nation, the leaven in the lump, the regenerate remnant who redeemed and validated a Church composed largely of hardened reprobates. Preaching at a public fast in 1628 Robert Harris used the metaphor of ‘medulli mundi’: honest men were ‘to the world as marow is to the bones’.141 Because their prayers were so successful in staving off temporal punishments, in binding the Lord's hands behind His back, they were said to be the ‘buttresses and pillars’ shoring up kingdoms and commonwealths—‘Bucklers to keepe away the force of the blow’.142 Like Moses, these ‘hedge-makers’ stood in the gap and ‘let downe the sluces, that the gushing streams of Gods vengeance may be stopt’. Like Phineas, their zeal helped deflect His wrath, at least temporarily.143 At Paul's Cross in August 1611 Robert Milles retold the tale of how Abraham had bargained with the Almighty, first securing His promise that He would not destroy Sodom if fifty righteous persons could be discovered within it, and then craftily beating Him down to forty, thirty, twenty, and finally ten.144 While even a handful of His servants remained intermixed with the impious multitude, the Lord would hold back His axe. According to Jeremiah v. 1, a single sound Israelite would have saved Jerusalem from utter destruction.145 If the Lord had spared Israel for the sake of a small, undefiled band, declared John King in an optimistic mood, ‘it may so stand with the goodnes of God, that a few innocent fooles’ might preserve England too.146

(p.303) Godly preachers like William Gouge proceeded to reproach the ‘monstrous ingratitude’ of ‘prophane Atheists, Belly-gods, and Worldlings’, who ought to hold themselves indebted to their ‘precisian’ neighbours for the very air which they breathed.147 It was only because a ‘competent number’ kept themselves unspotted and mourned the sins of their unsanctified brethren that the latter enjoyed any share in the bounty of divine blessings at all.148 At such moments, Protestant ministers came perilously close to reclaiming from medieval Catholicism the notion of vicarious penance, of a class of cloistered religious whose raison dʼêtre was to make intercessions for the rest.

The argument that one Noah, Lot, or Nehemiah might ransom an entire community or nation was a natural corollary of the thesis that one Achan or Jonah could be the cause of its undoing.149 As Patrick Collinson has taught us, it was here that prophetic discourse encountered difficulties as a catalyst and engine of patriotic feeling.150 As preachers started imputing the blame for supernatural visitations to particular segments of society, as they began insisting that it was only because of the saints that sinners were even suffered to exist, the latent and unresolved tension between the English Church as an inclusive institution and the little flock of the faithful concealed within it showed distinct signs of exploding. As they overcame their reluctance to distinguish between the seed and the parasite, the yeast and the mould, the charitable assumption that the whole nation was a chosen people lost all credibility.151 Providentialism may have fostered a religious sense of nationhood, but it simultaneously inhibited it, creating what Michael McGiffert has called ‘a set of discriminations that dotted a line’ along which both the civil and ecclesiastical establishments would later divide.152

One symptom of this changing dialectic was renewed discussion of the morality of mingling promiscuously with the visibly wicked. Puritans like John Downame, the acclaimed Tuesday lecturer at St Bartholomew Exchange, urged their followers to refrain from needless familiarity lest they be infected: the imminent danger of God's wrath, he said, ‘should be an effectual reason to perswade the faithfull to avoid their company’.153 ‘Come out of her my people,’ echoed (p.304) Thomas Barnes, ‘that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’154 The petrification of Lot's wife into a pillar of salt was a monument to the miserable fate of accessories after the fact.155 Whether or not this antisocial ideology of shunning ultimately compelled its advocates to estrange themselves formally from the official Church, its sectarian and congregational resonances are nevertheless self-evident.156 As they watched the integrity of the Protestant nation deteriorate in front of their eyes, England's Jeremiahs laboured to settle the pricking consciences of laypeople who wondered if it was callous and unpatriotic to forsake the unregenerate majority and separate or emigrate.157 With a tremendously inflated sense of their own self-importance, they claimed that the Lord was beginning to fan and winnow the wheat from the chaff, shipping away His Noahs and Lots to safety before He released the full torrent of His fury.158 Even Thomas Jackson, an overt critic of ‘schism’ comfortably ensconced in the lower echelons of the episcopal hierarchy, prophesied that ‘if all these swallowes have once taken their flight, there will come the coldest and wofullest winter, that ever the Church amongst us felt and endured’.159 A ‘special immunity’ from destruction was ‘the patent of the priviledge’ of the saints; God made sure there was a Zoar, an Ark, an Ararat, where His loved ones could take refuge.160 In the 1630s, this ‘retiring place’ began to look very much like America.161

(p.305) Collective eschatology162

Submerged in every jeremiad was the complex theological concept of the national covenant. Preachers repeatedly correlated the relationship between God and England with a legal contract or bond; a marriage pact between husband and wife; a bilateral agreement between mutually obligated parties; a diplomatic convention between countries at war.163 The continuing flow of divine favour to a chosen nation was held to be dependent on its obedience to the old Deuteronomic law, on fulfilment of the terms of a compact similar to that which the Lord had made with Adam and ratified with Moses on behalf of the Jews.164 A distinguished line of historians from the late Perry Miller to Michael McGiffert have maintained that this national covenant was quite distinct from the so-called covenant of grace which bound God to the elect scattered all over the globe—His testament, promise, and pledge to save them ‘in return’ for faith, which itself was a free and gratuitous gift. It has also been conventional to discuss the national covenant in isolation from the concurrent development of federal or covenant divinity—that subtle refinement of Calvin's soteriology, intended to safeguard it against both antinomianism and Arminianism, which unwittingly led Protestants back in the direction of moral legalism and a doctrine of meritorious deeds. By emphasizing the personal search for behavioural evidence of election, the covenant of works implicitly gave human beings more scope in their own redemption. How far this represented an ‘epochal departure’ from ‘unadulterated Calvinism’ remains the subject of heated dispute, but in helping to meet the psychological need for assurance and in depicting eternal deliverance as a quasi-conditional offer, covenant divinity did make predestinarian tenets more palatable and comprehensible to the unlearned laity.165

(p.306) Theodore Bozeman, however, has argued persuasively that to draw a ‘clean contrast between the individual and collective dimensions’ is to misrepresent ‘the overall dialectical weave of Puritan theology’. From the outset, the national covenant and the covenant of grace were tightly interlaced: an ‘easy, instinctive transit’ from the personal to the corporate, and from the evangelical to the temporal plane was a ‘basic reflex’ of English Protestant thought. In the jeremiad, there was a strong organic connection between society and self: the future of the community was fused with the fate of the private citizen's soul. Prophetic preachers shifted gear almost imperceptibly, speaking in the same breath of the earthly welfare of their country and the heavenly welfare of each Christian dwelling within her.166 Thus, in a standard lecture on Jonah and Nineveh delivered in 1602, Robert Wakeman stressed that what he said of England and London at large, ‘every man in particular may accompt as spoken unto himselfe’. ‘What I say to all,’ declared Robert Harris in Gods goodnes and mercie delivered in June 1622, ‘I speake to every one now present.’167 In contending that there could be no ‘salvation’ without repentance, preachers were referring not merely to preservation from epidemic disease, foreign conquest, and natural catastrophe, but also to emancipation from the everlasting desolation of spiritual rejection.168 When Adam Hill told Elizabethan Londoners that their ‘perpetuall damnation’ was at hand; when Daniel Donne warned ‘wee are so desperately sicke … that wee lye even at the doore of death, and there bee scarce so much as a thresh-hold betweene us and eternall destruction’, their words undoubtedly had amphibious significance.169 Equally double-edged were the assertions of Thomas Hooker, who told his listeners that they deserved to descend ‘a hundred times’ to hell, adding that the Almighty would ‘set his teeth at thee, and stamp thee down’. He closed with one final macabre prediction: ‘Capernaum's place is England's place, which is the most scalding tormenting place of all … the poor native Turks and Infidels shall have a more cool summer-parlor in hell than England shall have.’170

Paul's Cross prophets inferred that temporal discipline was a ‘type’ of the endless punishment endured by reprobates in the ‘bottomlesse pit’.171 In Tormenting Tophet, preached in June 1614, the Essex vicar Henry Greenwood declared that ‘the great destruction of the damned in hell, is livelily shadowed out (p.307) unto us in the judgements of God on earth’.172 ‘[T]he fire and brimstone which fell upon the Sodomites in this life’, argued Robert Harris, ‘was but a figure of that fire and brimstone which shall feed upon them in the life to come’. In suggesting that the providential penalties poured out on the unrighteous in the present were but ‘preambles’ and ‘entrances into, not exemptions from ensuing miseries’, the clergy were tacitly endorsing an innate tendency in popular eschatological thinking. They were encouraging the common assumption that sinners struck down by the hand of God were damned.173 Even if, as Harry Stout has maintained in the context of colonial New England, ministers took scrupulous care to separate the ‘contradictory logics of the two covenants’ and give their audience clear ‘rhetorical signals’ about which they were employing in the course of a particular sermon, considerable potential for confusion remained. The ideological contortions required to grasp the difference cannot have been within the compass of all those listening—and the ambiguity was one which the clergy assuredly had an interest in exploiting.174

The prophetic mode, then, was predicated on the promise that through corporate repentance and reformation of life a covenanted people could actively shape and mould the future of their nation, and, by extension, their own personal fate. The calculus of ‘unless ye repent’ implicitly exalted human ability to exercise agency. In this it contrasted sharply with sermons inspired by the millennial visions embedded in Daniel and Revelation and fed by the speculations of Thomas Brightman and Joseph Mede. Apocalyptic preaching spoke of a glorious kingdom of Christ on earth erected by an all-powerful deity without any input from man whatsoever; it anticipated a revolutionary upheaval of the most basic structures of Christian society. But triumphant millenarianism was not common in the pulpits until after 1642: as John Wilson has argued, its emergence indexed the divisions evolving within mid-seventeenth-century puritanism. In the pre-Civil War period, most providential preaching embodied an eschatology that was reformist rather than transformist at root. It posited a relationship between the Almighty and England which rested on reciprocal rights and obligations and elided the distinction between individuals and collectivities.175

The symbiosis between microcosm and macrocosm which the jeremiad presupposed was reflected in the premiss that the audience addressed by the preacher was democratically representative of the commonwealth before God. Parliamentarians who gathered in St Margaret's Westminster for fast sermons in the 1620s and 1640s no more constituted a cross-section of English society than the King, Court, and Privy Council seated at St James or Whitehall, or undergraduates and academics who assembled weekly in the University Churches of Oxford (p.308) and Cambridge.176 Congregations at Paul's Cross, however, were notoriously mongrel and ‘mixt’, a conglomeration of the ‘better’, ‘middling’, and ‘meaner sorts’ of people, of sightseeing foreigners, Londoners, and passing visitors from the country. This famous podium was a magnet and ‘hive’ which attracted the inquisitive no less than the devout. Francis Marbury, later rector of St Martin-in-the-Vintry, complained in June 1602 of disorderly hearers who habitually absented themselves from their own parish churches but regularly came to the Cross and there ‘delude[d] the law with walking and talking’.177 When the orator of the hour turned to denounce the sins of every rank, profession, and estate, he could thus be fairly confident that the crowd comprised members of each class, calling, sex, and age group against which he inveighed. George Webbe singled out the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, judges, ministers, citizens, and courtiers for particular criticism, while Thomas Baughe directed his diatribe against ‘Gentles’ and ‘Gallants’, ‘beauteous Ladies’, ‘faire matrons, and damzels’. Daniel Donne's long roll-call included lawyers, tradesmen, married couples, parents, children, masters, and servants; and John Fosbroke appended an exhortation to that ‘many-headed monster’ ‘the multitude’ at the end.178 The ‘weekly “check-up”’ conducted by the preachers may have been intended primarily to remind the city fathers of their duty ‘to launce out all coruption and baggage’ which was ‘gathered in the bowels’ of the metropolis, but it was simultaneously designed to provoke members of the audience to inspect and purge their own souls.179

Considered especially suitable for ‘populous assemblies’,180 the jeremiad was delivered at a range of public venues from busy market places to the Spittle and the pulpits of provincial cathedrals. John Carpenter's Remember Lots Wife (1588) was originally prepared for the long nave of St Peter's in Exeter, while it was at Stourbridge Fair, in the presence of a motley crew of stallkeepers, customers, vagrants, and pickpockets, that William Perkins stepped into the shoes of Zephaniah in 1593.181 It is less clear how frequently curates and vicars subjected (p.309) rural parishes to this type of penitential preaching, thrusting these sobering Old Testament themes down the throats of captive audiences whose attendance at Sunday matins and even-song was constrained by the law. Few such homilies wriggled into print and, as Professor Stout's extensive study of early American manuscript sermons has shown, we cannot assume that those which were published are a reliable guide to what was dished up to parochial communities each week: the subject of discussion on the sabbath was almost invariably the personal pilgrimage of the individual Christian through life. Prophetic themes probably came to the fore in moments of national and communal emergency, reaching the ears of auditories enlarged by panic and fear. The congregations which heard William Whately urge fire-ravaged Banbury to ‘Sinne no more’ in March 1628 and the Lancashire preacher Christopher Hudson harangue Preston after the cessation of the plague in 1631, for instance, are likely to have been far larger and more heterogeneous than usual.182 Such ministers may have had some grounds for upholding the conceit that the bustling ‘country’ town to which they spoke was an epitome of the entire ‘country’ in miniature.

On other occasions, the larger entity to which the prophet's listeners implicitly belonged was not England or Britain but the brotherhood of true believers dispersed throughout the world. Those who travelled considerable distances to attend combination lectures in Kettering, Cranbrook, or Mansfield hardly needed any reminder to repent and amend.183 Nor perhaps did the sermon-gadders of seventeenth-century London—those, for instance, who implored the Worcestershire preacher Thomas Hopkins to publish their notes of two rousing addresses he had delivered during a visit to the city in 1608.184 The parishioners of St Antholin's in Budge Row were evidently equally ardent ‘professors of the faith’: they had zealously repaired to Robert Gray's morning lectures on Genesis xix despite constant derision and scorn at the hands of their unregenerate neighbours.185 So too the original audience of Robert Bolton's Discourse about the state of true happinesse: ‘(you are a people of understanding), I leave it to your owne consciences, to consider what must needs shortly befall us, except we gather our selves before the decree come foorth.’186 The Gloucestershire villagers who sat through Sebastian Benefield's marathon run of sixty (tediously repetitive) sermons on Amos in the 1620s and 1630s must also have had the strong stomachs and heroic stamina of the prodigiously pious.187 And George Abbot's series on Jonah was (p.310) likewise absorbed by a select gathering of the godly of Oxford, who voluntarily assembled in St Mary the Virgin each Thursday on their way to work, summer and winter: he was ‘rather induced to thinke, that everyone here belongeth to Gods election, for it standeth much with reason, that grace should have deepe roote in that people, who so early before day-light, come together with devotion, to heare what the Lord doth say concerning all of them’.188 This was preaching to the converted, to a self-selected audience whose fault consisted less in committing offences than in quietly condoning them.

Christs teares over Jerusalem

The message of sin and judgement, plague and repentance, did not merely issue from the mouths of ordained ministers. As we have seen, these were also perennial themes of the providential ephemera churned out from London publishing houses throughout the Elizabethan and early Stuart period. Sensational ballads and pamphlets about floods, fires, earthquakes, and storms; deformed babies, diabolical apparitions, and sudden mishaps need to be interpreted as national morality sermons of a kind themselves. They too drew the parallel between biblical Israel and the ‘faerie Hand’ and ‘unfruitfull Vineyard’ of post-Reformation England, rehearsing her blessings, shortcomings, and impending punishments as solemnly as any Paul's Cross preacher.189 Indeed, these news reports are saturated with prophetic rhetoric to a degree which suggests they were either composed by clergymen who regularly employed it in their pulpits, or written by versatile hacks sanctimoniously mimicking them, or, more probably, produced by a loose and unstable coalition of the two.190

The semi-professional writers who infested the capital often adopted the idiom of moral outrage and jingoistic patriotism in their attempt to eke out a livelihood by plying their pens. Metrical gloom was thus an established part of the repertoire of the early modern minstrel. There are dozens of Elizabethan songs affecting to be ‘warnings’, ‘lanthorns’, and death knells to a dangerously complacent and iniquitous nation. A bell-man for England sounded a siren to awake the people to their prayers before doomsday: first entered in 1586, this apocalyptic ditty sung to the ponderous tune of ‘O man in desperation’ survived in the ballad partners' stock for nearly a century.191 Other ‘alarums’ extracted providential lessons from sacred (p.311) and secular history: Of the horrible and wofull destruction of Sodome and Gomorra was not quite as successful, but a ballad about Nineveh's timely conversion was a steady seller for at least fifty years.192 And while only a few rhymsters alluded to the conquest of the ancient Greek metropoles of Alexandria and Troy, the sacking of Antwerp by the Spaniards in 1576 led to a spate of admonitions in verse.193 Although most broadside jeremiads were addressed directly to London, a character in a Caroline comedy claimed he could give an excellent rendering of ‘Jonas his crying out against Coventry’.194

No fallen city was more popular with the ballad-buying public than Jerusalem, besieged by Titus and Vespasian in ad 74. Around 1569 John Barker brought out a song about the storming of the city, set to the strains of ‘the Queenes Almayne’. Drawing on the narrative by ‘that prudent Jewe’ Flavius Josephus, he also listed the preternatural tokens which had preceded this supreme act of vengeance for the assassination of Christ.195 A new set of lyrics on this gripping subject appeared a decade later, this time to fit the rhythms of ‘Bragandary’,196 but what Tessa Watt (p.312) has called the ‘pièce de résistance of this genre’ was not composed until around 1593. Destined to remain in print for several generations, Christs teares over Jerusalem. Or, a caveat for England, was a clumsy summary of an uncharacteristically sombre tract by Thomas Nashe.197 Thomas Deloney seems to have taken up the challenge a few years later, publishing a suspiciously similar allegorization of the episode entitled Canaan's calamitie. 198 All of these ballads linked a lugubrious account of how the Lord had wept bitterly as he approached the doomed city on Palm Sunday with an emotive description of the terrible famine which followed the actual siege forty years later:

  • The vomit which one man did cast
  • another man did eate.
  • Their very dung they layd not wast,
  • but made therof their meate.
Dogs, cats, mice, and rats they ‘counted sweete’, even devouring ‘their shooes from of their feete’.199 Every rhymster dwelt ghoulishly on the dreadful predicament of the noblewoman Miriam, forced to slay her baby son and roast him for her dinner, summing up the moral of this gory tale in one final refrain:
  • Repent therefore O England,
  • repent while thou has space,
  • And doe not like Jerusalem,
  • despise Gods proffered grace.200

‘Jerusalems Fall, Englands Warning’ was a favourite topos of prophetic preachers too. A succession of Elizabethan and early Stuart prophets took up the text of ‘Christs teares’ (Luke xix. 41–4) and squeezed out every last drop of typological significance.201 John Stockwood could not resist incorporating morbid particulars of the miseries the Jews had endured in the wake of the Roman invasion, not least those of the cannabilistic mother Miriam, which, he said, ‘were such as maye worthily cause an hearte of flint to weepe’.202 When John Lawrence spoke at Paul's Cross in the spring of 1624, he too regaled his auditors with grisly details of how (p.313) aristocrats were obliged ‘to eat the leather of their Coaches as they rid, Ladies to scrape in dunghils for their food, and many women to eat the fruit of their owne wombe’.203

Far from a distinctively post-Reformation motif, the siege and its hideous sequel had fascinated poets, prose-writers, and preachers since the days of the primitive Church. Drawn from apocryphal sources, the story was enshrined in alliterative verse, metrical romance, and a French chanson de geste;204 it also infiltrated John Mirk's well-known Festial via Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda Aurea. 205 In the medieval legend, the battle and its aftermath were traditionally linked with an account of cures effected by the relic of the Holy Vernicle, St Veronica's veil, while the virtuous ‘moder’ Miriam, nauseated at the thought of eating her own infant's flesh, is enjoined to the horrible deed by an angel who appears to her in a dream. Protestants simply edited out these ‘popish’ accretions.

Regularly recounted from the metaphorical ‘stage of the land’, ‘faire Jerusalem's’ destruction also made its way onto the real stages of the land. A Latin play on this topic is credited to Thomas Legge, Master of Caius College, Cambridge, and it was the subject of an extraordinarily lavish production commissioned by the corporation and performed by the craft guilds of Coventry in 1584—an impeccably Protestant replacement for the Corpus Christi plays permanently ‘layd downe’ after the ‘great earthquake’ four years before. The taste for such civic entertainments and amateur ‘pagens’ continued: in 1591 the City Council granted permission for a revival of this spectacular piece of pseudo-biblical drama at Midsummer, on the condition that every maypole still standing was dismantled before Whitsun.206 The taboo on dramatizing the Bible did not yet extend to the Apocrypha, which offered a scriptural setting without the taint of sacrilege. By the end of Elizabeth's reign, Coventry's reformed substitute for the old mystery cycle had itself come under the iconoclast's hammer, a symptom of the general hardening of attitudes towards the theatrical medium into which the English Reformation moved in its second generation.207

(p.314) But the abolition of paraliturgical drama did not see the total eclipse of these themes. Instead they were relocated to the commercial playhouses which began springing up on the outskirts of London in the late 1570s. William Heminge's The jewes tragedy or their fatal and final overthrow by Vespasian and Titus his son, published posthumously in 1662, was one professional production about the siege of Jerusalem for which we have a printed script. First staged in the capital in 1590, Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene's A looking glasse for London and England, an elaborate dramatization of the Book of Jonah set in a Nineveh which bears more resemblance to Renaissance Italy than to ancient Assyria, appears to have been a box-office hit. This crudely plotted Protestant morality play quite literally involved the device of deus ex machina. In Act I an angel lowers the omniscient narrator and prophet Oseas' in a throne, who admonishes the city:

  • London looke on, this matter nips thee neere,
  • Leave off thy ryot, pride and sumptuous cheere.
  • Spend lesse at boord, and spare not at the doore,
  • But aide the infant, and releeve the poore.
A later stage direction indicates that other mechanical apparatus was flown: ‘A hand from out a cloud, threatneth a burning sword’.208

These scriptural stories lent themselves readily to puppetry too. In Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fayre, first performed in 1614, the hobby-horse seller Lantern Leatherhead boasts: ‘O the motions that I … have given light to i’ my time … Jerusalem was a stately thing, and so was Ninevah, and The City of Norwich, and Sodom and Gomorrah … but The Gunpowder Plot, there was a get-penny! ‘I have presented that to an eighteen- or twenty-pence audience nine times in an afternoon’.209 The inhabitants of Oxford and Norwich were regularly entertained by puppet shows and ‘spectacula’ on the subjects of ‘Nineveh besieged & taken’ and ‘Hierusalem in its glory [and] destruction’ in the 1630s—there was apparently sufficient interest from the public for the latter to be divided into five or six parts.210 Notwithstanding the tirades of that puritan rabbi of Banbury, Zeal-of-the-Land Busy, the priorities of godly Protestantism and the trends of the professional theatre and literary market-place could sometimes converge. Playwrights and entertainers, like pamphleteers, were parasitical upon the homiletic patterns set by (p.315) the clergy, with whom they competed as commentators on the vices of English society.211

Prophecy in performance

But it should not be forgotten that preachers were accomplished performers themselves. Indeed, they were obliged to be: as Thomas Wilson recognized in his best-selling treatise on rhetoric first published in 1553, unless they played to the tastes and ‘tickle[d the] eares of their fleeting audience’ they would very soon find themselves addressing ‘bare walles’ while their rivals at the Curtain and Globe enjoyed a full house—‘for excepte men finde delight, thei will not longe abide’.212 Like any other branch of oratory, stressed contemporary theoreticians like William Perkins and John Wilkins, ‘prophesying’ was an ‘art’ as well as a ‘gift’. There can be no doubt that the jeremiad had much melodramatic and theatrical scope—perhaps no homiletic genre was better calculated to ‘moove affection’ and win ‘the praise of teares, rather than of tongue’.213 Ministers availed themselves of a variety of sophisticated rhetorical techniques. In this most bullying of sermon styles, the cross-examination and inquisition of England was a standard procedure. Let us eavesdrop on Edwin Sandys grilling Elizabethans who had gathered to hear him at the Spittle:

Are we not as guilty of unrighteous dealing, of oppression, of extortion, are we not as covetous, are we not as proud as ever any people was? Is there not as much pride, belly-cheer, idleness, unmercifulness, in the city of London, as was in the city of Sodom? Do we not as much loath the true bread of heaven? Cleave we not as fast unto idolatry and superstition? Commit we not adultery and fornication? Tempt we not God? Do we not mutter against the magistrates, as the Israelites did in the wilderness? Is there more truth, mercy, and knowledge of God, less swearing, lying, murder, theft, adultery, and bloodshed in England, than was in the land of Jewry? If kingdoms then be translated for wrongful dealing, for covetousness and pride; how can unrighteous, covetous and proud England stand long? If God spared not the flourishing city of Sodom, can he in his justice spare the sinful city of London? If God overthrew the mighty people of Israel in the wilderness for their sins, can he wink at our foul and manifold offences? If the land of Jewry was laid waste, and the elect Israel carried away captive for their ingratitude, will not God punish and plague our shameful contempt, our wilful disobedience?214

And John Downame interrogating the godly of Jacobean London: (p.316)

hath not our long peace and prosperitie brought an universall sleepe of securitie upon the land? Have not our people greevously abused their great plenty, and the manifold blessings wherewith God hath inriched them, by mis-spending them in voluptuous pleasures, and in all manner of luxurious wantonnesse and intemperance? Was ever the land so defiled with the surfetting and drunkennesse, whordome, and all manner of uncleannesse? Was there ever the like greedy covetousnesse, oppression, bribing, extortion, and all manner deceitfull & cruel dealing? Were ever the hearts and hands of our Nation so effeminated, as in these times, wherein there is scarce any difference betweene men and women in nicenesse, wantonnesse, and soft luxuriousnesse, both in respect of diet and attire? Is not the manly courage, and able valour of this our Nation much decaied, and doth not foxe-like wilinesse take the place of true fortitude? Finally, were ever men more insolent in offering injuries, or more impotent in repelling deserved revenge?215

Or Thomas Sutton rising to a crescendo at Paul's Cross one cold Sunday in January 1612:

how long, shall the Preacher cry that sin is more to bee feared then any treason, and yet we practise it? How long shall the Preacher cry that sin is the onely Troyan-horse, whose womb can command a bloudy Armado, armed with cruelty and rage to work our overthrow, and yet we entertaine and welcome it? how long shall the Preacher cry in our streets, and wring it in your eares, that sin is the onely makebate betwixt God and us, & yet wee are in league and compact with it?216

Equally arresting were the daring metaphors and vivid similes these prophets habitually employed. As the late William Haller noted, theirs was a ‘homely’ idiom and an ‘intensely imaginative hortatory prose’.217 What could have made a greater impression on the prosperous grain merchants who heard William Perkins hold forth at Stourbridge Fair than his comparison of the English Church with a goodly heap of corn, so much worthless chaff and so little high-quality wheat?218 And how better to engage the imagination of a nation of shopkeepers than to liken the Almighty to a pedlar packing away his wares, a tradesman closing ‘the Shop-windowes of Heaven’ and ‘shutting up to be gone’?219 Stephen Marshall, vicar of Finchingfield, Essex, who preached on the incendiary subject of Meroz cursed no less than sixty times on the eve of the Civil War, is said to have liberally salted his sermons with ‘vulgar proverbs … odd country phrases and by-words, which … captivated people at a strange rate’.220 Marshall's style may have been unusually (p.317) racy and colloquial, but prophetic preachers like ‘silver tongʼd’ Henry Smith could be just as colourful when it came to ‘picturing out’ the sins which ‘reigned’ and ‘revelled’ in England.221 Immanuel Bourne portrayed pride walking hand in hand with whoredom, with her mother drunkenness lagging behind, a trio which had begotten three venomous daughters, simony, sacrilege, and oppression.222 Thomas Adams wielded his satirical pencil with particular vigour:

I can point you to Usury, robbing, grinding, sucking bloud, cutting throates, whiles he sits in the Chimney corner, and heares of his Zanies, whelpes, underling-Theeves ending their dayes at the Gallowes. I can shew you Covetousnesse, swearing for gaine, crouching, ramping, playing Ape, Lion, or Devill, for Money: I can discover to you Drunkennesse, rising early to the wine, Malice making haste to the death of Ammon, Ambition running after honour, faster then Peter to the Sepulchre; Pride Whirling in her Chariot, Wantonnesse shutting up the windowes; Bribery creeping in at the Key-hole, even when the doore of Justice is locked up against her. Among all these I see not repentance: Doth she stay till the last act?223

In personifying vice, prophetic preachers were perpetuating the garish parade of the Seven Deadlies, the familiar rogues' gallery of malefactors so beloved by the medieval friars. They habitually fell back on the structures and motifs of traditional vernacular complaint.224

Such sermons were overloaded with anguished and impassioned particles of speech. ‘O England, England’, ‘O London, London’, implored preacher after preacher, imitating the sacred poetry of the canonical Scriptures. The ‘emphatical language’ of these apostrophes and interjections—part invocation, part plea, part lamentation—embodied an intimate address to a covenanted people, who, like the Israelites, had strayed from the path of righteousness into the wilderness of sin.225 The same assumption underlay the use of terms of endearment: ‘Beloved in the Lord’, entreated Sebastian Benefield; ‘Brethren, there must be some ende of these things’, beseeched John King; ‘alas, my Beloved’, sighed Daniel Donne.226

(p.318) Many ministers resorted to the technique referred to in preaching manuals as ‘prospopeia’: ‘when wee bring in dead men speaking, or our selves doe take their person upon us’. Introducing the major and minor prophets appealing directly to the erring English nation was ‘very pathetical’, said Richard Bernard, ‘and moveth much if it be rightly handled’.227 Nor was it considered unacceptable to put words—or at least the Word—in the mouth of the Almighty Himself. The impersonation of God on the stage may have been branded the height of blasphemy, but in the pulpit it was regularly employed without the slightest reservation or reproof. Preaching at Paul's Cross in January 1581, James Bisse exclaimed:

The Lorde may nowe justly say to England, as hee somtimes spake unto Babylon. Come downe, and sit in the dust, O daughter Englande, thou shalt no more be called tender, and delicate, take the milstones, & grind meale, loose thy lockes, make bare thy feete, uncover thy legs and thighs, passe through the floodes, thy filthinesse shalbe discovered, thy shame shalbe seene, I will take vengeaunce, and will not meete thee as a man228

‘Have I gotten so many victories for you (may God say) and no remembrance of me left among you?’, demanded George Benson on 7 May 1609; ‘he may say, and say truly to us, What more could I have done for you my people, then what I have not done?’, John Lawrence affirmed one spring day fifteen years later. And here is the Elizabethan bishop of Lincoln Thomas Cooper addressing the nation in the late 1570s:

O Englande, Englande, how often times have I called thee? how sundrie wayes have I provoked thee? howe aboundantlye have I powred out my benefites and blessinges uppon thee? howe earnestlye have I by the mouth of my Preachers, clocked and cried to thee, as an Henne doeth to her Chickens, that thou mightest awake out of thy securitie, and by repentaunce, returne under the shadowe of my wings229

This was a mode of discourse which primarily sought to arouse and exercise its hearers' emotions rather than challenge their intellects. These Protestant Jeremiahs seem to have been no less adept at composing tear-jerking sermons than Spanish and Italian Catholic revivalists like St Bernadino of Siena, Diego de Cadiz, Vincent Ferrer, and the Jesuit missionaries of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Naples and Bavaria. They too aimed to make their audiences physically weep with sorrow at their sins and demonstrate their collective mourning and contrition. The tears of the faithful stored up ‘in the bottle of God’ were an infallible means of staving off plagues and securing forgiveness, said the Kentish vicar Alexander Udny, and he was not just employing a figure of speech.230

(p.319) It would also be difficult to deny that these preachers deliberately cultivated a prophetic demeanour and presence. How they conducted themselves on the rostrum is for the most part irrecoverable, but clerical handbooks do provide a few hints. Perkins insisted that godly solemnity should always grace the messenger of God; Bernard advocated a reverend, upright bearing and ‘a comely countenance’, not ‘lumpish’, ‘frowning’, or ‘irefull’, but sober, modest, and stern; George Abbot reminded his colleagues ‘that in regard of his holinesse and righteousnesse whose person we represent, our cariage and behaviour should be framed to a resemblance of the immaculate Deitie’.231 If the Old Testament visages which stare out from the engraved portraits in their posthumously published works are at all indicative, some ministers studiously modelled themselves on traditional depictions of the Hebrew patriarchs and prophets—not to mention anthropomorphic images of God the Father Himself. William Gouge was reputed to be the ‘Effiges of Moses’ ‘towards his latter end’ and John More, the ‘Apostle of Norwich’ allegedly grew the longest beard of his generation so ‘that no act of his life might be unworthy of the gravity of his appearance’ (Plates 45 and 46).232

Only rarely do we catch sight of these overpowering personalities actually in the pulpit. According to John Manningham, London barrister and an inveterate attender of lectures, the preacher at Paul's Cross on 19 December 1602 had ‘a long browne beard, a hanging looke, a gloting eye and a tossing learing jeasture’, while Henoch Clapham was ‘a blacke fellowe, with a sower looke … bold, and some-tymes bluntly witty’. Augustine Baker, a young Welshman educated in the capital who later became a Benedictine monk, remembered Clapham as ‘a mighty rabbin’ who ‘grew famous … by making strange faces and motions of his eyes, now up to heaven, and by and by down to the ground’. Such ‘vehement and seemingly passionate actings … did take much with the simple sort’.233 John Rogers was noted for his ‘deep … trembling, quavering, singultive twang’ and, according to the biographer Samuel Clarke, William Perkins ‘used to pronounce the word Damn with such an Emphasis, as left a doleful Echo in his auditors ears’ and was able to make their ‘hearts fall down, and their haires almost to stand upright’.234 Renowned (p.320)

                   ‘Englands Warning by Israel’: Paul's Cross Prophecy                                               1

PLATE 45 Samuel Clarke, The lives of thirty-two English divines (London, 1677), 234. By permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. Shelfmark: P. 2. 20. Dr William Gouge, rector of St Anne's, Blackfriars, reputed to resemble the ‘Effiges of Moses’ ‘towards his latter end’.

for his ‘choleric disposition’ and ‘mighty fervor of spirit’, Thomas Hooker quite literally lifted up his voice like a trumpet to denounce incorrigible sinners, as did William Whately, the ‘roaring boy’ of Banbury, and Hugh Clark, another early Stuart Boanerges who had ‘an excellent pair of lungs’ which he used to strike shame and terror into the wicked.235 Stephen Marshall had to be towelled down after his sermons and Richard Greenham's ‘shirt would usually be as wet with sweating, as if it had been drenched with water’.236 Such preachers may well have (p.321)
                   ‘Englands Warning by Israel’: Paul's Cross Prophecy                                               1

PLATE 46 Henry Holland, Herwologia Anglica hoc est clarissimorum et doctissimorum (London, 1620), 209. By permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library. Shelfmark: SSS. 40. 19.

John More, the ‘Apostle of Norwich’.

made use of the histrionic antics and mannerisms reprehended in Bernard's Faithfull shepheard—‘unseemely gestures’ such as violently ‘casting abroad’ one's limbs, sudden ‘stouping downe’ and ‘very unadvisedly’ standing erect, intem-perately smiting the pulpit, thumping one's breast and, above all, the ‘vaine and phantasticall motions’ employed in ‘prophane pastimes’ and plays. Like Andreas Gerardus, he may have feared these techniques would minister occasion to ‘scoffers and jesters amonge the rude sorte…to procure sport and laughter in their inn-kettinges and tipling feastes’ by mimicking them.237

As Michael McGiffert has remarked, England's Hoseas also practised the storyteller's craft of suspense.238 They kept God's sentence of spiritual desolation constantly pending, never presuming to pin down a date, though they did make audacious claims about the inevitability of this dreadful event. ‘I am not a prophet, (p.322) nor the sonne of a prophet to set the time, either of forty or fifty, daies or yeares more or lesse,’ protested John King, alluding to Amos vii. 14; ‘he sitteth above to whome it is best knowne, and is comming in the cloudes to determin that question’.239 ‘Am I a Prophet?’, echoed John Lawrence; ‘No, nor the Sonne of a Prophet, yet this I dare boldly say, Unlesse we suddenly repent, we perish.’240 It was axiomatic that, unlike their Hebrew predecessors, the ‘Evangelicall Prophets’ of early modern England did not have ‘Oraculous warning by Immediate Revelation’.241 Theophany was a thing of the past, avowed one Elizabethan Zechariah, ‘nowe we are not to looke’ to be instructed by visions—‘therefore away with all Anabaptisticall dreames’.242 Occasionally, however, we do find Protestant ministers intimating that they had something like a direct line to the sky. ‘But how long time hast thou, England, thou England?’, Hugh Latimer cried to the Edwardian court; ‘I cannot tell, for God hath not revealed it unto me; if he had, so God help me, I would tell you of it…but I cannot tell how long time ye have, for God hath not opened it unto me.’243 Thomas Hooker went one step further in suggesting that he had been entrusted with a special ambassadorial mission: ‘What if I should tell you what God told me yesternight that he would destroy England and lay it waste?…What sayest thou unto it, England? I must return an answer to my Master that sent me, yea, this present night’.244

It is not surprising that some eminent clerics acquired a reputation for prophesying the future. John Foxe was credited with foretelling the destruction of the Spanish Armada and James Ussher, primate of Ireland, with predicting the War of the Three Kingdoms. He earnt his place in contemporary history books with a sermon preached at Great St Mary's in Cambridge on Charles I's coronation day on 1 Samuel xii. (‘If you still do wickedly, you shall be consumed, both you and your king’). John Preston was another preacher esteemed as an oracle: taking up a text from Isaiah at Whitehall in 1627, he insisted that God was whetting His sword to strike England and that His anger had already begun to manifest itself in ‘blasted enterprizes’, bad accidents, and the ‘miscarriage of…businesse’. When news came through no more than a few days later of the disastrous retreat of the duke of Buckingham's expeditionary forces from La Rochelle and the Isle of Rhé, Preston was heralded a prophet and called a second Micah.245

(p.323) These cases are extremely revealing, but information about how most jeremiads were received is frustratingly scant. We simply do not know whether their hearers squirmed uncomfortably in their seats as the minister dissected society's ills, trembled and went pale in their pews, or turned a deaf ear to his disagreeable discourse. In the experience of Robert Bolton and Bartimaeus Andrewes the unregenerate rabble railed against the ‘Jeremies, Michaiahs, and John Baptists of the time’, reviling these ‘true hearted Nathanaels’ as ‘pestilent Fellowes’, ‘blacke Ravens come from hell’, ‘Doctors of despaire, and unmercifull dispensers of damnation’.246 According to Zelotes, the godly pastor in George Gifford's much-plundered Countrie divinitie, preachers who administered the harsh ‘Corrasives and Cauterizations’ of the Law were ‘haynously taken’ and ‘sayd to be murtherers, beecause they preach but the dead letter which doth kill’.247 The reprobate multitude could ‘at no hand abide’ this kind of ‘home-speaking’: the only sermons they applauded were those which sowed ‘pillowes…under their arme-pits’.248 Few divines differed in thinking that their daily and hourly warnings were scoffingly dismissed as ‘olde wives’ and ‘winters tales’, ‘fables’, ‘unpleasing newes’, and ‘but a skar Crow’, while they themselves were abused for making ‘muche ado aboute nothing’ and ‘accounted as the filth of the street, and of-scouring of all things’.249 The ‘painefull Sermons’ of England's Noahs, said Thomas Sutton despondently, too often ‘proved but like paper bullets shot against a brazen wall’.250 These rhetorically conditioned appraisals and vociferous complaints should, of course, be regarded with a degree of healthy scepticism: clerical pessimism was at least partly a side effect of internalization of the role of Old Testament prophet itself.251 Repeated professional failure was inbuilt in the Israelite paradigm: God's emissaries expected—and, one suspects, even pretended—to be ignored, despised, and belittled.

It would be wrong to overlook the sizeable sector of a Paul's Cross congregation which, as Francis White observed, ‘presse[d] to this and such like places’ ‘more for fashions sake then any true devotion’, all too familiar with the providential commonplaces reiterated there every week.252 Some probably regarded this type of preaching as a pious rigmarole: relatively unperturbed, even faintly bored, gluttons for punishment, they nevertheless kept returning for more.

(p.324) Robert Saxby, a clothier from Brenchley in Kent, was one individual for whom such sermons apparently became rather addictive: he regularly trooped to St Anne's, Blackfriars, and Smithfield's St Bartholomew the Great to soak up the prophetic wisdom of William Gouge and Thomas Westfield, summarizing the expositions of Scripture he heard in a voluminous notebook, most of which, he concluded rather lazily, were ‘very Remarkabell’.253 We should also consider the evidence to the effect that the jeremiad was actually a crowd-pleaser. Manningham spoke of the urban ‘multitude’ thronging after popular preachers, hovering in church porches where they could barely hear their heroes, but might just glimpse them in the distance; and a Laudian bishop sneeringly compared lecturers with ‘ballad singers and happy horse sellers’ because of the large audiences they attracted in market towns and fairs.254 Perhaps some found their terror tactics and tongue-lashings rather invigorating, taking perverse pleasure in the recurrent threat that God was about to annihilate England—much as their modern counterparts might relish a horror film or read an enthralling cliffhanger or thriller. Those who took down sermons in their pocket diaries verbatim, engaged in ‘repetition’ of their substance and ‘heads’, were ‘verie instant’ with their local minister to print them, or sent their own notes to the press without obtaining permission must be adjudged true enthusiasts.255 On children and adolescents prophetic rhetoric could have an electrifying and intoxicating effect—as the outbursts of that 11-year-old Jeremiah William Withers of Walsham-le- Willows, and the diabolical/ divine speeches of Thomas Darling, the young demoniac from Staffordshire dispossessed by John Darrell in 1586, attest. An ardent disciple of Arthur Hildersham of Ashby-de-la-Zouche, the ‘Boy of Burton’ hoped he might live ‘to thunder out the threatenings of Gods word, against sinne and all abhominations, wherewith these dayes doo abound’.256

Sermons, remarked the celebrated demagogue Stephen Marshall, were like ‘bel-lowes’, ‘of great power to stirre up’ and inflame the ‘coales’ of men's hearts: ‘experience shewes us that zealous preaching makes zealous people’.257 Sometimes such occasions resembled revivalist camp meetings or sessions of group psychotherapy. Like the great open-air communion services of ‘holy fairs’ which became such a central feature of Scottish presbyterian culture in the early seventeenth century, they too must be regarded as deeply satisfying and stimulating (p.325) rituals which could lead to emotional outpouring and cathartic release.258 Famous preachers like John Rogers of Dedham could reduce their congregations to a quivering mass by ‘personating’ God threatening to take the Bible away from the wicked English people. This heart-rending skit wrought ‘so strange an impression’ that ‘the place was a mere Bochim, the people generally…deluged with their own tears’. And at least one of his hearers, when the service was over, was ‘fain to hang a quarter of an hour upon the neck of his horse weeping before he had power to mount’. So many crowded into the church where his funeral was held in 1636 to pay him tribute that the gallery ‘sunck and crackt’ and threatened to collapse. ‘[H]ad yt fain as blackfryars did under the popish assembly, yt would have ben a great wound to our religion,’ one contemporary noted, but ‘yt pleased God to honour that good man departed with a miracle at his death’ and prevent the floor from falling in.259 These were the television evangelists of late Tudor and early Stuart England, cult figures and bearers of religious charisma.

Was providential preaching, then, intrinsically unappealing to the majority of the early modern populace? Were godly ministers as impossibly out of touch with their auditors, as stubbornly inflexible in their approach to the task of refashioning traditional mentalities, as revisionist historians have sometimes implied? This chapter has sketched a rather different scenario. Susan Brigden has spoken of preaching as ‘a popular spectator sport’ in the mid-sixteenth century, when Protestantism enjoyed the prestige of an irreverent protest movement.260 A sensitive reading of the English jeremiad suggests it may have retained some of its allure even after the ‘new religion’ had shed its novel first skin. Prophetic discourses were not overly cerebral and they betray manifest links and continuities with their medieval predecessors and with the multifarious products of the ephemeral press. Sermons which presented the spectacle of God's terrible judgements were not inconsistent with the proclivities of those who spent their hard-earned pennies on sensational but moralistic newsprint. In short, they sit uneasily with conventional characterizations of Calvinism as coldly rational and introspectively bookish. Zealous Protestantism could, in the broadest sense of the term, be a popular religion.


(1) The title of this chapter is taken from John Fosbroke's Paul's Cross sermon on 29 Nov. 1617, Englands warning by Israel and Judah, in Six sermons delivered in the lecture at Kettering in the conntie of Northampton, and in certain other places (Cambridge, 1633). I borrow the phrase ‘Paul's Cross Prophecy’ from Patrick Collinson, ‘Biblical Rhetoric: The English Nation and National Sentiment in the Prophetic Mode’, in Claire McEachern and Deborah Shuger (eds.), Religion and Culture in the English Renaissance (Cambridge, 1997), 27. I am grateful to Professor Collinson for allowing me to read this essay prior to its publication. My debt to his work will be readily apparent: here it has been possible to explore in more detail many of the themes to which he draws attention.

(2) Thomas Adams, Englands sicknes, comparatively conferred with Israels (1615), repr. in Workes, 302

(3) John Downame, Lectures upon the foure first chapters of the prophecie of Hosea (1608), 2nd pagination, 68

(4) Jones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 26

(5) Webbe, Gods controversie, sig. A3V; DʼEwes, Diary, ed. Bourcier, 94; Stock, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, sig. *3V. Cf. Procter, Watchman warning, sig. A3V.

(6) This chapter is based on a close study of Paul's Cross sermons preached between 1558 and 1640 and a wide sample of prophetic sermons preached at other locations during the same period. Millar Maclure's chronological register of Paul's Cross sermons in The Paul's Cross Sermons 1534–1642 (rev. and expanded Peter Pauls and Jackson Campbell Boswell as Register of Sermons Preached at Paul's Cross 1534–1642, Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies Occasional Publications 6 (Ottawa, 1989)), is an invaluable tool, but his summaries of the sermons are not always a reliable guide to their overall content or character. On the history of Paul's Cross as an institution, see Maclure, Paul's Cross Sermons, Ch. 1; Margaret E. Cornford, Paul's Cross: A History (1910). For an illuminating literary critical study, see Mary Morrissey, ‘Rhetoric, Religion, and Politics in the Paul's Cross Sermons, 1603–1625’, PhD thesis (Cambridge, 1997).

(7) Christopher Hill, Antichrist in the Seventeenth Century (Oxford, 1971)Tudor ApocalypseReformers and BabylonApocalyptic Tradition.

(8) William Haller, The Rise of Puritanism … (New York, 1938)

(9) Patrick Collinson and Michael McGiffert have now begun to correct this serious oversight, but we still lack a full-scale study of the genre of monograph length: Michael McGiffert, ‘God's Controversy with Jacobean England’, American Historical Review, 88 (1983), 1151–74; Patrick Collinson, ‘The Protestant Nation’, in Birthpangs, esp. 3–4, 17–27; id., ‘Biblical Rhetoric’. See also Christopher Hill, The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution (1993), esp. chs. 10–12. For the ‘Anglican’ jeremiads of the Restoration, see Spurr, ‘Virtue, Religion and Government’, 29–47; id., Restoration Church, Ch. 5.

(10) Miller, New England Mind, esp. Ch. 16; Sacvan Bercovitch, ‘Horologicals to Chronometricals: The Rhetoric of the Jeremiad’, in Eric Rothstein (ed.), Literary Monographs, 3 (Madison, 1970), 3–124; id., The American Jeremiad (Madison, 1978); David Minter, ‘The Puritan Jeremiad as a Literary Form’, in Sacvan Bercovitch (ed.), The American Puritan Imagination: Essays in Revaluation (Cambridge, 1974), 45–55; Emory Elliott, Power and the Pulpit in Puritan New England (Princeton, 1978); John F. Berens, Providence and Patriotism in Early America 1640–1815 (Charlottesville, Va., 1978).

(11) E. W. Kirby, ‘Sermons before the Commons, 1640–1642’, American Historical Review, 44 (1939), 528–48; James C. Spalding, ‘Sermons before Parliament (1640–1649) as a Public Puritan Diary’, Church History, 36 (1967), 24–35; H. R. Trevor Roper, ‘The Fast Sermons of the Long Parliament’, in Religion, the Reformation and Social Change (2nd edn. 1972), 294–344; Stephen Baskerville, ‘The Political Theology of the Fast Sermons of the Long Parliament’, PhD thesis (London, 1987); Hill, English Bible, Ch. 3. The most distinguished study to date is Wilson, Pulpit in Parliament.

(12) For entirely typical examples of the preaching of Marshall and Calamy, see respectively Reformation and desolation: or, a sermon tending to the discovery of the symptomes of a people to whom God will by no meanes be reconciled (1642) and Englands looking-glasse, presented in a sermon, preached before the honourable house of commons, at their late solemne fast (1642). For published fast sermons to parliament dating from the pre-1640 period, see Bargrave, Sermon preached before the … lower house of parliament (1624); Jeremiah Dyke, A sermon preached at the publicke fast (1628); John Harris, The destruction of Sodome: a sermon preached at a publicke fast ([1629]); John Preston, A sermon preached at a general! fast, in The saints qualification (1633). This is not to mention the prophetic sermons preached at puritan fasts, for which, see Collinson, Elizabethan Puritan Movement, 214–19; id., ‘Puritan Classical Movement’, 323–46; and William Sheils, ‘Provincial Preaching on the Eve of the Civil War: Some West Riding Fast Sermons’, in Anthony Fletcher and Peter Roberts (eds.), Religion, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Honour of Patrick Collinson (Cambridge, 1994), 290–312.

(13) John Hooper, An oversight, and deliberation upon the holy prophete Jonas ([1550?]); Hugh Latimer, A most faithfull sermon preached before the kynges most excellente majestye, and hys most honorable councell ([1550]), repr. in Sermons, ed. Corrie; Thomas Lever, A sermon preached the thyrd Sonday in Lent before the kynges majestie, and his honorable coansell (1550); id., A fruitfull sermon made in Ponies churche at London in the shroudes (1550). See also Catharine Davies, ‘“Poor Persecuted Little Flock” or “Commonwealth of Christians”: Edwardian Protestant Concepts of the Church’, in Peter Lake and Maria Dowling (eds.), Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth Century England (1987), 78–102.

(14) See e.g. Bartholomew Traheron, A warning to England to repente ([Wesel?], 1558). For some discussion of this subject, see Joy Shakespeare, ‘Plague and Punishment’, in Peter Lake and Maria Dowling (eds.), Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth Century England (1987), 103–23.

(15) Maclure, Paul's Cross Sermons, 144English Preaching in the Late Middle Ages

(16) The Sermons of Thomas Brinton, Bishop of Rochester (1373–1389), ed. Mary Aquinas Devlin, 2 vols., CS, 3rd ser. 85–6 (1954), i. 47c

(17) Richard [Thomas] Wimbledon, A sermon no lesse frutefull then famous. Made in the yeare of our Lord God. M.C. Ixxxviii and founde out hyd in a wall (1573 edn.), title-page, and see sig. A2r–v. His text was Luke xvi. 2 (‘Give an account of thy stewardship’). See the introd. to the modern edn. by lone Kemp Knight, Wimbledon's Sermon: Redde Rationem Villicationis Tue: A Middle English Sermon of the Fourteenth Century, Duquesne Studies, Philological Ser. 9 (Pittsburgh, 1967), esp. 22–6; Owst, Preaching in Medieval England, 360–2. The allegation that the prophecy was ‘founde out hyd in a wall’ was probably an authenticating fiction: see Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 463–4. For other examples of prophetic sermons by John Bromyarde, Robert Rypon and John Mirk, see Owst, Preaching in Medieval England, 206–8.

(18) Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, ed. Dorothy Whitelock (1952)

(19) Procter, Watchman warning, 15. Cf. Lawrence, Golden trumpet, 42: ‘this Pulpit hath sounded with these exclamations many times in your eares’.

(20) Fosbroke, Englands warning by Israel and Judah, in Six sermons, 1

(21) Jackson, Judah must into captivitie, 26

(22) Webbe, Gods controversie, 75–6. On the looking-glass theme, see also Calamy, Englands looking-glasse; A. W, A fruitful I and godly sermon, preached at Paules crosse ([1592]), sig. B3V; William Whately, A caveat for the covetous (1609), 86.

(23) Udny, Voyce of the cryer, 14. For other examples of the expansion of the paradigm to accommodate the whole of Great Britain, see Lancelot Dawes, Gods mercies and Jerusalems miseries (1609), sig. 14V; Jones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 38; James Rowlandson, Gods blessing in blasting, and his mercy in mildew (1623), 47.

(24) Jackson, Judah must into captivitie, 96

(25) Jones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 2

(26) Daniel Price, Sorrow for the sinnes of the time (Oxford, 1613), 24

(27) W[hitbie], Londons returne, 26

(28) Pilkington, Aggeus and Abdias prophetes, in Works, ed. Scholefield, 128; Stock, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, 7.

(29) Williams, Best religion, 153, cf. 1079–80; William Perkins, The seconde treatise of the duties and dignities of the ministrie, in id., Workes, iii. 455; Thomas Barnes, Vox belli, or an alartne to warre (1626), 5–6.

(30) Nathaniel Cannon, The cryer (1613), 24

(31) Stock, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, 13, 48; Gosson, Trumpet of warre, sig. F8V; Bolton, Discourse about the state of true happinesse, in Workes, 157–9.

(32) Francis White, Londons warning, by Jerusalem (1619), 15 and 5–23 passim.

(33) Ibid. 6; Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 2nd pagination, 59, and see 171. Cf. Topsell, Times lamentation, 3: ‘the sermons of the prophets are the sermons of the Lorde himselfe’.

(34) Procter, Watchman warning, 2; Gibson, Lands mourning, 6; A. W., Fruitfull and godly sermon, sig.

(35) Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 1st pagination, 41; Gray, Alarum to England, sig. 15V; William Whately, Charitable teares: or a sermon shewing how needfull a thing it is for every godly man to lament the common sinnes of our countrie (1623), 235; Dawes, Gods mercies and Jerusalems miseries, sig. A5V.

(36) Donne, Sub-poena, 39

(37) Johnson, Davids teacher, sig. C4V

(38) Field, Godly exhortation, sig. 4V. See also Gray, Alarum to England, sig. D8r-v.

(39) Chaderton, Excellent and godly sermon, sig. F2r; Johnson, Davids teacher, sig. C4V; Hampton, Proclamation of warre, 11. See also William Perkins, Faithfull and plaine exposition … of Zephaniah, in Workes, iii. 420.

(40) Donne, Sub-poena, 41. See also Jones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 37–8; Samuel Buggs, Davids strait (1622), 57.

(41) Fuller, Sermon intended for Paul's Crosse, 32

(42) F. S., Jerusalems fall, Englands warning, 3 [vere 5]; Benson, Sermon preached at Panles Crosse, 38.

(43) Bisse, Two sermons, sig. D4r, alluding to Isa. i. 8

(44) See e.g. White, Londons warning, by Jerusalem, 41–2; Hampton, Proclamation of warre, 10; Abbot, Be thankfull London and her sisters, 19. England's deliverances were, of course, the central theme of anniversary sermons: for examples at Paul's Cross, see Thomas White, A sermon preached at Paules Crosse the 17. of November an. 1589 (1589); John Duport, A sermon preached at Pauls Crosse on the 17. day of November 1590 … commonly called, the queenes day (1591); Martin Fotherby, The third sermon, at Paules Crosse, Novemb. 5. anno 1607. upon the day of our deliverance, from the gunpowder treason, in Foure sermons, lately preached (1608); Tynley, Two learned sermons (preached 5 Nov. 1608); John Boys, An exposition of the last psalme. Delivered in a sermon preached at Paules Crosse the fifth of November 1613 (1615), quotation at 20.

(45) Immanuel Bourne, The rainebow, or, a sermon preached at Pauls Crosse (1617), 44

(46) Quotation from William Fisher, A godly sermon preached at Paules Crosse the 31. day of October 1591 (1592), sig. A5V. For the parallel with Goshen, see Richard Jefferay, The sonne of Gods entertainment by the sonnes of men (1605), 24; Baughe, Summons to judgement, 33.

(47) Bourne, Rainebow, 44; Bisse, Two sermons, sig. D4r.

(48) Donne, Sub-poena, 41

(49) Jones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 26; Benefield, Commentary … upon … Amos, 3rd pagination, 86.

(50) Robert Milles, Abrahams suite for Sodome (1612), sig. B6rv; Lawrence, Golden trumpet, 17.

(51) Whately, Charitable teares, 244 and see sig. Oir

(52) Thomas Sutton, Englands summons (1612), in Englands first and second summons. Two sermons preached at Paules Crosse (1616), 30–1. For other exaggerated statements about England as God's chosen people, blessed above all other nations, see Bunny, Necessarie admonition, 68; Y[onger], Sermon preached at Great Yarmouth, sigs. B6r, B7r, E2V; Adams, Englands sicknes, in id., Workes, 314; Donne, Sub-poena, 42; Procter, Watchman warning, 54; Jones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 27, 49.

(53) Udall, True remedie, fos. 34v–35r

(54) McGiffert, ‘God's Controversy with Jacobean England’, 1152 and passim. See also Collinson, ‘The Protestant Nation’, in Birthpangs, esp. 7–11; id., ‘Biblical Rhetoric’, esp. 23–4. McGiffert partially retracts his assertion that Jacobean Hoseads (esp. John Downame's Lectures) fostered and articulated the notion that God had a special relationship with England in response to criticisms made by Richard Greaves, in a communication to the editor of American Historical Review, 89 (1984), 1217–18. On Protestantism and patriotism, see also the essays in Peter Lake and Maria Dowling (eds.), Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth Century England (1987); Anthony Fletcher, ‘The First Century of English Protestantism and the Growth of National Identity’, in Stuart Mews (ed.), Religion and National Identity, SCH 18 (Oxford, 1982), 309–17; Hill, English Bible, 264–6; id., ‘The Protestant Nation’, in id., The Collected Essays of Christopher Hill, ii. Religion and Politics in 17th Century England (Brighton, 1986), esp. 29–31.

(55) The scriptural allusion is to Deut. xxxii. 10 and Ps. xvii. 8. Note, however, the careful discriminations of John Spenser, A learned and gracious sermon preached at Paules Crosse (1615), esp. 8, and Anderson, Sermon, sigs. B1r–2r.

(56) Actes and monumentsWilliam Haller argued in Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the Elect Nation (1963)

(57) John W. McKenna, ‘How God became an Englishman’, in Delloyd J. Guth and id. (eds.), Tudor Rule and Revolution: Essays for G. R. Elton from his American Friends (Cambridge, 1982), 25–43

(58) Field, Godly exhortation, sig. B1v

(59) Bisse, Two sermons, sig. D3v

(60) Adams, Englands sicknes, in Workes, 314

(61) Donne, Sub-poena, 41; King, Lectures upon Jonas, 442.

(62) Preachers who chose this text (Luke xiii. 6–7) include Anderson, Sermon, and Adams, Barren tree. On the vineyard (Isa. v. 4), see Spenser, Learned and gracious sermon. Quotation from Fisher, Godly sermon, sig. A8V.

(63) Gray, Alarum to England, sig. H2V; King, Lectures upon Jonas, 443.

(64) Adam Hill, The crie of England (1595), 105

(65) Webbe, Gods controversies 112; John Grent, The burthen of Tyre (1627), 35; Barnes, The wise-mans forecast against the evil I time (1624), 37.

(66) Cannon, Cryer, 2; Gray, Alarum to England, sig. D2V; Jones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 40.

(67) Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 2nd pagination, 49

(68) For the distinction between ‘privative’ and ‘positive’, see ibid. 77; Sutton, Englands summons, in id., Englands first and second summons, 65–6. For the various adjectives: ibid. 2; Thomas Cheaste, The way to life (1609), 21; Gibson, Lands mourning, 101; Gray, Alarum to England, sig. D4V.

(69) As McGiffert has noted, the text was a favourite with Jacobean preachers: Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea (1608); Webbe, Gods controversie (1609); Wʼilliam Ward, A sinners inditement (1615 edn.), preached before 1612; Sutton, Englands summons, in Englands first and second summons, preached 1613; Samuel Torshell, Gods controversie for sinne (on Hos. iv. 1–2), in The saints humiliation (1633). Other hoseads include Samuel Smith, An exposition upon the sixt chapter of the prophesie of Hosea (1616); Fosbroke, Englands warning by Israel and Judah (1617) (on Hos. v. 15), in Six sermons; Daniel Featley, Pandora s boxe; or, the cause of all evils and misery, in Clavis mystica (on Hos. xiii. 9), preached c.1620; William Loe, Vox clamantis (1621) (on Hos. v. 1–2); Henry Leslie, A warning for Israel (Dublin, 1625).

(70) On Laodicea (Rev. iii. 15–16), see Thomas Sutton, Englands second summons (1615), in Englands first and second summons; Sampson Price, Londons warning by Laodicea's luke-warmnesse (1613).

(71) Lawrence, Golden trumpet, 74

(72) Barnes, Wise-mans forecast, 17. Gray, Alarum to England, sig. F1v, uses the same phrase, but applies it to pride.

(73) Milles, Abrahams suite for Sodome, sig. C4V; Webbe, Gods controversie, 80, and see 108; Gibson, Lands mourning, 6.

(74) Preston, Sermon preached at a generall fast, in Saints qualification, 295. See also Stock, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, who preached on Isa. ix. 14–16 (‘Therefore will the Lord cut off from Israel, head, and tayle, braunch, and rush, in one day. The Auncient and the Honourable man, he is the head: and the Prophet that teacheth lyes, he is the tayle. For the leaders of my people, cause them to erre: and they that are ledde by them, are devoured.’)

(75) Adams, Englands sicknes, in Workes, 347, alluding to Gen. iv. 9

(76) Featley, Pandora's boxe, in Clavis mystica, 90

(77) Cheaste, Way to life, 4

(78) Gataker, Sparke toward the kindling of sorrow for Sion, esp. 34–9. See also Thomas Barnes, The court of conscience: or, Josephs brethrens judgement barre (1623), esp. 145–8. See Cogswell, Blessed Revolution, 27–34; Hunt, Puritan Moment, 176–7, 198; Hill, English Bible, Ch. 12, esp. 290–4. For the anti-Arminian implications of the sermons by Thomas Sutton and Sampson Price cited in n. 70, above, see my Church Papists: Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England, Royal Historical Soc. Studies in History, 68 (Woodbridge, 1993), 116–17.

(79) J. P. Kenyon (ed.), The Stuart Constitution: Documents and Commentary (Cambridge, 2nd edn. 1986), 128–30

(80) Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast, esp. 25, 36, 38, 40, and see 43, 46

(81) Ball, Life of the Renowned Doctor Preston, 160. The scriptural allusion is 1 Kgs. xxii. 27. The sermon was a sequel to his A sensible demonstration of the deity, printed in Sermons preached before his Majestie; and upon other speciall occasions (1630). See also Christopher Hill, ‘The Political Sermons of John Preston’, in id., Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in the Interpretation of the English Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (Harmondsworth, 1956), esp. 245–56.

(82) H[enry] B[urton], Israels fast … (La Rochel [London], 1628), sig. Bir, title, sigs. B2V, B3r, p. 32, sig. Bir, p. 32 respectively. It is unclear where (and whether) this explosive sermon was actually preached. W. W. Greg (ed.), Companion to Arber. Being a Calendar of Documents (Oxford, 1967), 242–3. As Blair Worden has demonstrated the sin of Achan was to become an increasingly ominous motif: ‘Oliver Cromwell and the Sin of Achan’, in Derek Beales and Geoffrey Best (eds.), History, Society and the Churches: Essays in Honour of Owen Chadwick (Cambridge, 1985), 125–45.

(83) Nicholas Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism c.1590–1640 (Oxford, 1987), app. I

(84) Stephen Marshall, A divine project to save a kingdome (1644), 23

(85) Hill, English Bible, 39, 41

(86) As McGiffert notes, ‘God's Controversy’, 1171.

(87) Hill, Crie of England, 51–3, 82, 81 respectively; Gosson, Trumpet of warre, sig. F4r; Fotherby, Third sermon, in Foure sermons, 84–5; Johnson, Davids teacher, esp. sigs. F1r–3r. Cf. Jackson, Londons new-yeeres gift, fos. 23r–24v and Jefferay, Sonne of Gods entertainment, 35–8 (who attacked ‘schismatics’ and ‘Brownists’); Benson, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, 15–17 (who taxed itinerant preachers and sermon gadders).

(88) Williams, Mysteries of the rainebow, in Best religion, 11Catholic and ReformedTreatise concerning the signes of the timeThree sermons preached before the KingDiverse sermonsDNB.

(89) Abraham Wright's Five sermons in five several styles; or waies of preaching (1656) is ‘the Presbyterian Way; before the Citie at Saint Paul's, London’

(90) Isa. v. 18.

(91) Gataker, Sparke toward the kindling of sorrow for Sion, 4

(92) Sutton, Englands summons, in Englands first and second summons, 131; Benson, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, 41; Donne, Sub-poena, 90.

(93) Webbe, Gods controversie, 45–8

(94) Rom. xi. 17–21. See e.g. Stockwood, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse on Barthelmew day, 14; F. S., Jerusalems fall, Englands warning, 3 [vere 5]; Hill, Crie of England, 100; Featley, Pandora's boxe, in Clavis mystic a, 87.

(95) Pilkington, Aggeus and Abdias prophetes, in Works, ed. Scholefield, 4, 11

(96) E[dward] B[ush], A sermon preached at Pauls Crosse on Trinity Sunday, 1571 (1576), sig. E1rRegister of Sermons

(97) Stockwood, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse on Barthelmew day, esp. 44–8

(98) Anderson, Sermon, sigs. E6v–7r, F8V; Bisse, Two sermons, sigs. D5v–6r.

(99) Perkins, Faithfull and plaine exposition … of Zephaniah, in Workes, iii. 421.

(100) Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 85, 93

(101) Price, Ephesus warning before her woe (on Rev. ii. 5), 59

(102) F. S. noted in Jerusalems fall, Englands warning, 23, fault was increased by ‘circumstance of the time’

(103) Adams, Englands sicknes, in Workes, 345, and see 327

(104) Dent, Plaine mans path-way, 174, 247. See also Milles, Abrahams suite for Sodome, sig. B5V. On God as a father and ‘a spirituall Chirurgeon’, see Fosbroke, Englands warning by Israel and Judah, in Six sermons, 14–21.

(105) Perkins, Faithfull and plaine exposition … of Zephaniah, in Workes, iii. 423.

(106) Dent, Plaine mans path-may, 158. Cf. A. W., Fruitfull and godly sermon, sig. Bir; Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 40. For contemporary proverbs, see Tilley, Dictionary of Proverbs, nos. G182, G224, G270, P639, V25.

(107) For the legal metaphors, see Webbe, Gods controversie, 19, 9, and see 16–17; Sutton, Englands summons, in Englands first and second summons; Donne, Sub-poena; and the hoseads listed in n. 69, above. For the military metaphor, see Hampton, Proclamation of warre. See also . S., Jerusalems fall, Englands warning, 2: ‘God gives a Caveat before his Capias, and doth warne before he doth wound’.

(108) Dawes, Gods mercies and Jerusalems miseries, sig. H3r-v; Sutton, Englands summons, in Englands first and second summons, 24–5; Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 38–9. Tamburlaine the Great was the subject of a famous play by Christopher Marlowe (dated 1587), repr. in The Complete Plays, ed. J. B. Steane (Harmondsworth, 1969).

(109) Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast, 4A sensible demonstration of the deitySermons preached before his Majestie

(110) Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast, 9, 14, and see also 22–5. Cf. Anderson, Sermon, sig. G1v.

(111) For only a handful of examples, see ibid. sigs. Giv~3r; Chaderton, Excellent and godly sermon, sig. F2r-v; Bisse, Two sermons, sigs. B7v–8r; Perkins, Faithfull and plaine exposition … of Zephaniah, in Workes, iii. 424; R[obert] W[ilkinson], Lots wife (1607), 41; John King, A sermon of publicke thanksgiving for the happie recoverie of his maiestie from his late dangerous sicknesse (1619), 51–2; Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast, 22.

(112) King, Lectures upon Jonas, 36. Cf. the almost identical passage in Grav, Alarum to England, sig. 17r-v.

(113) Fosbroke, Englands warning by Israel and Judah, in Six sermons, 43

(114) Daniel Featley, A sermon preached at a publike fast, in Clavis mystica, 892. For similar apprehensions, see Abbot, Exposition upon the prophet Jonah, 117–18; Hopkins, Two godlie and profitable sermons, 66–7; Thomas Hooker, The Church's Deliverances (a sermon for 5 Nov.), repr. in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al, 67; Robert Harris, Davids comfort at Ziklag (1628), 15–16; Jeremy Leech, The trayne souldier (1619), esp. 53–5. See also J. R. Hale, ‘Incitement to Violence? English Divines on the Theme of War, 1578 to 1631’, in id., Renaissance War Studies (1983), 487–517.

(115) Adams, Barren tree, 46. See also Preston, Sermon preached at a generall fast, in Saints qualification, 300.

(116) Adams, Englands sicknes, in Workes, 340; King, Sermon of publicke thanksgiving, 52; Udny, Voyce of the cryer, 14. Other preachers who employed this logic include Adams, Gallants burden, in Workes, 5; Stockwood, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse on Barthelmew day, 169; Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 2nd pagination, 266–7; and Hanibal Gamon, Gods smiting to amendment, or, revengement (1629), 29.

(117) Gen. vii. Preachers who chose the Flood include Bourne, Rainebow (on Gen. ix. 13); Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast (Heb. xi. 7, ‘By Faith Noah being warned of God … prepared an Arke …’); Williams, Mysteries of the rainebow (on Gen. ix. 13), in ‘Best religion’, Thomas Gataker, Noah. His obedience, with the ground of it: or his faith, feare, and care (on Heb. xi. 7), in Two sermons.

(118) Grent, Burthen of Tyre (on Isa. xxiii. 7–9)

(119) Gray, Alarum to England (sermons on the text of Gen. xix. 23–5), sig. B4r. Other sermons on Sodom and Gomorrah include Hill, Crie of England (Gen. xviii. 21–2); Milles, Abrahams suite for Sodome (Gen. xviii. 32); Harris, Destruction of Sodome (Gen. xix. 24); W[ilkinson], Lots wife; Carpenter, Remember Lots wife (both on Luke xvii. 32); Christopher Hudson, ‘The Preservation of the Godly in the greatest Perils. In a Sermon preached at Preston when the great Plague ceased in that towne. 1631’ (on Rom. ix. 29, ‘Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seede, wee had beene as Sodome, & beene made like unto Gomorrha’), in LRO DP 353. John King, then rector of St Andrew's, Holborn, preached on the drowning of the Old World and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah on 24 Oct. 1602: Manningham, Diary, ed. Bruce, 64–72.

(120) Isa. v. 5; Amos ix. 8; Hos. i. 9; Amos viii. 11. It is invidious to single out particular examples, but for references to each of these passages, see respectively Hampton, Proclamation of warre, 12; Fosbroke, Englands warning by Israel ana1 Judah, in Six sermons, 45; Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 1st pagination, 83; Baughe, Summons, 31.

(121) Rev. iii. 15–16. See the sermons by Sutton and Sampson Price listed in n. 70, above.

(122) Luke xiii. 6–9. See Anderson, Sermon (Luke xiii. 6); Adams, Barren tree (Luke xiii. 7); Donne, Sub-poena (Luke iii. 9, ‘Now is the Axe layd unto the root of the trees …’).

(123) Ephesus warning before her woeJones, Londons looking backe to Jerusalem, 28

(124) See e.g. Abbot, Exposition upon the prophet Jonah, 9; Baughe, Summons, 31.

(125) Andrewes, Certaine verie worthie, godly and profitable sermons, 206. Cf. Ward, Sinners inditement, 7: ‘What should a Carpender doe with a peece of Wood that will serve to no use in the building, but cast it into the fire’? So too would the Almighty ‘cast us off to destruction’.

(126) Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 64; King, Lectures upon Jonas, 21.

(127) Webbe, Gods controversie, 47; Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 2nd pagination, 133.

(128) See also Christopher Hill, ‘God and the English Revolution’, History Workshop, 17 (1984), esp. 21; id., English Bible, Ch. 12.

(129) Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast, 24; Hooker, The Danger of Desertion (1631), repr. in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al., 244, 245, 246 respectively.

(130) Prynne, Canterburies doome, 361; Laud, Works, ed. Scott and Bliss, v. 328. But cf. PRO SP 16/278/65, fo. 146v-r where Ward alleged he did not look ‘through soe blacke spectacles as he that wrote [this]’. Curiously, the phrase was echoed by George Herbert, certainly no puritan, in his poem ‘The Church Militant’: ‘Religion stands on tiptoe in our land, Readie to passe to the American strand’: Works, ed. Hutchinson, 196.

(131) King, Lectures upon Jonas, 458 [vere 452]. Cf. John Hoskins, Sermons preached at Pauls Crosse and elsewhere (1615), 33: ‘Repentance is an ordinary revealed Evangellical condition to bee still supplied, whensoever God threatneth, and giveth space for repentance’.

(132) Cheaste, Way to life, 4

(133) King, Lectures upon Jonas, 499; John Sedgwick, Fury fiered: or, crueltie scourged (1625 edn.), 71.

(134) See Ch. 3 above, pp. 150–6.

(135) See Latimer, A most faithfull sermon, repr. in Sermons, ed. Corrie; Hooper, Oversight … upon the holy prophete Jonas; King, Lectures upon Jonas; Abbot, Exposition upon the prophet Jonah; Smith, Foure sermons, in Sermons; Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance; Attersoll, The conversion of Nineveh, in Three treatises. Also relevant is Thomas Tymme's trans, of the Lutheran Johann Brentz's Newes from Ninive to Englande, brought by the prophete Jonas (1570). See also the remarks of McGiffert, ‘God's Controversy’, 1155–6; Collinson, Birthpangs, 21–2.

(136) Latimer, A most faithfull sermon, in Sermons, ed. Corrie, 240; Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 68.

(137) Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast, 29. Thomas Gataker, Two sermons, 92 asked ‘Had Jonas come to London, and there preached the like some fortnight or three weekes before that Powder-plot was to have beene executed, wrho would have beleeved it?’.

(138) White, Londons warning, by Jerusalem, 47 [vere 39]

(139) Smith, Foure sermons, in Sermons, sigs. C6r, C5V respectively

(140) Collinson, Birthpangs, 22

(141) Harris, Destruction of Sodome, 21, and 17–22 passim‘sanguis mundi

(142) Ibid. 18; Dawes, Gods mercies and Jerusalems miseries, sig. C2r. Cf. Jackson, Judah must into captivitie, 47–58, 66–8.

(143) Dent, Plaine mans path-way, 237–44, quotation at 242; Marshall, Divine project, esp. 4. The scriptural allusions are to Ezek. xxii. 30, Ps. cvi. 23, and Num. xxv. 11.

(144) Milles, Abrahams suite for Sodome.

(145) Dawes, Gods mercies and Jerusalems miseries is a sermon on this text

(146) King, Lectures upon Jonas, 37

(147) Gouge, Plaister for the plague, in Gods three arrowes, 27, and 26–7 passim; Jackson, Judah must into captivitie, 46, 57. For similar statements, see Field, Godly exhortation, sig. Bir; Dent, Plaine mans path-way, 244–6; Harris, Destruction of Sodome, 18–19.

(148) Whately, Charitable teares, 216–17, id., and sig. O2v. Cf. Hooker, The Church's Deliverances, in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al., 84–5.

(149) Fosbroke noted in Englands warning by Israel and Judah, in Six sermons, 6, ‘it be many times seen that a multitude are punished for one private mans offence, as the children of Israel were for the sinne of Achan’

(150) Collinson, Birthpangs, esp. 21–7; id., ‘Biblical Rhetoric’, 33–6. Cf. Carol Wiener's argument about the ambivalence of anti-popery as a patriotic discourse in ‘The Beleaguered Isle: A Study of Elizabethan and Early Jacobean Anti-Catholicism’, P&P 51 (1971), 27–62.

(151) Collinson, Elizabethan Puritan Movement, 25Protestantism and the National Church

(152) McGiffert, ‘God's Controversy’, 1152.

(153) Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 2nd pagination, 311, and see 294–6

(154) Barnes, Wise-mans forecast, 62–4, echoing Rev. xviii. 4. See also William Attersoll, Gods trumpet sounding the alarme, separately paginated in Three treatises, 64 [vere 94]–97.

(155) Gen. xix. 26.

(156) On semi-and social separatism, see the discussions in Collinson, ‘Voluntary Religion’, in id., Religion of Protestants, 242–83; id., ‘The Godly’; id., ‘English Conventicle’; id., ‘The Cohabitation of the Faithful with the Unfaithful’, in Ole Peter Grell, Jonathan I. Israel, and Nicholas Tyacke (eds.), From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion in England (Oxford, 1991), 51–76; and Murray Tolmie, The Triumph of the Saints: The Separate Churches of London 1616–1649 (Cambridge, 1977).

(157) Gouge, Plaister for the plague, in Gods three arrowes, 23–6

(158) See Hooker, The Danger of Desertion, in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al., 246. For Elizabethan expressions of these ideas, see Fisher, Godly sermon, sig. D2V; Carpenter, Remember Lots wife, sig. F3V. See also the remarks of Gouge, Plaister for the plague, in Gods three arrowes, 17–21; and Hudson, ‘The Preservation of the Godly’ (LRO DP 353). Both are in the context of discussion of the preservation of the godly from death of the plague.

(159) Jackson, Judah must into captivitie, 57

(160) Price, Sorrow for the sinnes of the time, 2 (on Ezek. ix. 4, ‘Set a marke upon the fore-heads of them that sigh and that cry for all the Abominations’); Hooker, The Danger of Desertion, in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al., 246.

(161) Thomas Cooper, The blessing of Japheth, proving the gathering in of the gentiles, and finall conversion of the jewes (1615), sig. A3r. He reminded his distinguished audience, which included the Lord Mayor, Alderman, Sheriffs, and the Commissioners for the plantations in Ireland and Virginia, of the need ‘to provide some retiring place for your selves, if so be the Lord, for our unthankefulnes should spue us out’. On motives for emigration, see also Susan Hardman Moore, ‘Popery, Purity and Providence: Deciphering the Newr England Experiment’, in Anthony Fletcher and Peter Roberts (eds.), Religion, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Honour of Patrick Collinson (Cambridge, 1994), 257–89; Avihu Zakai, Exile and the Kingdom: History and Apocalypse in the Puritan Migration to America (Cambridge, 1992), esp. Ch. 4.

(162) I borrow this phrase and concept from Wilson, Pulpit in Parliament, 189.

(163) For the marriage metaphor, see Hooker, The Danger of Desertion, in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et a I., 231; Featley, Pandora's boxe, in Clavis Mystica, 87; Spenser, Learned and gracious sermon, 10. For the metaphor of legal proceedings, see the hoseads listed in n. 69, above; Fisher, Godly sermon, sig. Bir; Donne, Sub-poena. For the metaphor of war, see Hampton, Proclamation of warre.

(164) For explicit statements of the covenantal relationship between God and England, see F. S., Jerusalems fall, Englands warning, 20; Attersoll, Gods trumpet, in Three treatises, 115.

(165) There is a large literature on this complex subject: see Perry Miller, ‘The Marrow of Puritan Divinity’, Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 32 (1937), 247–300; id., New England Mind, chs. 13, 16. Jens G. Moller traces the origins of federal divinity in the writings of William Tyndale and Swiss reformers including Zwingli and Bullinger in ‘The Beginnings of Puritan Covenant Theology’, JEH 13 (1962), 46–67; this theme is developed by Richard L. Greaves, ‘The Origins and Early Development of English Covenant Thought’, The Historian, 31 (1968), 21–35. Everett H. Emerson questions how far covenant theology departed from Calvin's thought in ‘Calvin and Covenant Theology’, Church History, 25 (1956), 136–44. But cf. Kendall, Calvin and English Calvinism, and Wallace, Puritans and Predestination, esp. 10–11, 197–8. See also Michael McGiffert, ‘American Puritan Studies in the 1960s’, William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser. 27 (1970), 47–50; id., ‘Grace and Works: The Rise and Division of Covenant Divinity in Elizabethan Puritanism’, Harvard Theological Review, 75 (1982), 463–502; id., ‘From Moses to Adam: The Making of the Covenant of Works’, SCJ 19 (1988), 131–55; id, ‘God's Controversy’, 1163–8; David Zaret, The Heavenly Contract: Ideology and Organization in Pre-Revolutionary Puritanism (Chicago, 1985); and notably David A. Weir, The Origins of the Federal Theology in Sixteenth-Century Reformation Thought (Oxford, 1990). Quotations in this paragraph are from McGiffert, ‘American Puritan Studies’, 47; Miller, ‘Marrow of Puritan Divinity’, 258.

(166) Bozeman, ‘Covenant Theology and “National Covenant”’; id., ‘Federal Theology and the “National Covenant”’, esp. 399. See Collinson's remarks in Birthpangs, 22–3, and ‘Biblical Rhetoric’, 27. Bozeman is partly anticipated by Wilson, Pulpit in Parliament, Ch. 6, esp. 168–9, 185, 189–90.

(167) Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 55; Robert Harris, Gods goodnes and mercie (1626 edn.), 22. Cf. Abbot, Exposition upon the prophet Jonah, 367.

(168) e.g. Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 56; Y[onger], Sermon preached at Great Yarmouth, sigs. D7v–8r, E2v–3r.

(169) Hill, Crie of England, 75, cf. 3, 4, 36; Donne, Sub-poena, 39.

(170) Hooker, The Danger of Desertion, in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al, 241, 242, alluding to Matt. xi. 21–4

(171) Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 2nd pagination, 125Pulpit in Parliament

(172) Henry Greenwood, Tormenting Tophet (1615), 50 (on Isa. xxx. 30)

(173) Harris, Destruction of Sodome, 30. Cf. Gray, Alarum to England, sigs. Biv, B8r. See Ch. 2 above, pp. 103–4.

(174) Stout, New England Soul, 27 and pt. 1 passim. See also Collinson, ‘Biblical Rhetoric’, 42 n. 50.

(175) Wilson, Pulpit in Parliament, Ch. 7.

(176) Jeremiah Dyke described the House of Commons as ‘an assembly of Noahs’: Sermon preached at the publicke fast, 36. For sermons at court, see B[roughton], Moriemini; John Donne, A sermon preached at Whitehall, March 3, 1619, in The Works …, ed. Henry Alford, 6 vols. (1839), i. 291–306; Price, Sorrow for the sinnes of the time. For sermons at Oxford and Cambridge, see Robert Some, A godly sermon preached in Latin at Great S. Maries in Cambridge (1580) (on Hos. xiv. 3–4); Rainolds, Prophecie of Obadiah. See also Fulke, Godly and learned sermon.

(177) Gosson, Trumpet of warre, sig. A2r; Marbury, Sermon preached at Pauls Crosse, sig. E3r.

(178) Webbe, Gods controversie, 114–16; Baughe, Summons to judgement, 48–50; Donne, Sub-poena, 97–103; Fosbroke, Englands warning by Israel and Judah, in Six sermons, 33–8. A. W, Fruitfull and godly sermon, sig. A2V, acknowledges that the Paul's Cross congregation consisted of diverse degrees, conditions, and estates. For a moral rather than sociological taxonomy, see W[ilkinson], Lots wife, 49–55.

(179) Maclure, Paul's Cross Sermons, 121; Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, sig. F7r.

(180) John Wilkins, Ecclesiastes, or, a discourse concerning the gift of preaching as it fals under the rules of art (1647 edn.)Paul's Cross Sermons

(181) Carpenter, ‘Remember Lots wife’, Perkins, Faithfull and plaine exposition … of Zephaniah, in Workes, iii. Other sermons in cathedrals include Jackson, Judah must into captivitie and Raging tempest stilled. See also Stanford E. Lehmberg, The Reformation of Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society, 1485–1603 (Princeton, 1988), 275–7. For the Spittle, see Sandys, Sermon made at the Spittle, in Sermons, ed. Ayre.

(182) Stout, New England Soul, esp. introd., pp. 3–10; Whately, Sinne no more; Hudson, ‘Preservation of the Godly’ (LRO DP 353). Thomas Wilcox's Faithfull narration may also have originated as a sermon.

(183) Godly PeopleReligion of ProtestantsInstructions for a right comforting afflicted consciences … Delivered for the most part in the lecture at Kettering in NorthamptonshireWorkesWhately, Charitable teares.

(184) Hopkins, Two godlie and profitable sermons, sig. A4r (‘To the Christian Reader’)

(185) Gray, Alarum to England, sigs. A2r-8V (dedications)

(186) Bolton, Discourse about the state of true happinesse, in Workes, 83

(187) Benefield, Commentary … upon … Amos

(188) Abbot, Exposition upon the prophet Jonah, 365 and 636. On 393 he spoke of ‘common men’, ‘of whom we have little hope, that they have called for mercie’. John King's well attended Lectures upon Jonas, delivered in York, were preached to ‘the most intelligent auditory of the place wherein I then lived’: sigs. *3v–4r.

(189) [Holland], Motus Medi-terraneus, sig. B2r; Averell, Wonderfull and straunge newes, sig. B5r. See also Miracle upon Miracle, esp. 10; Most true and lamentable report, of a great tempest of haile which fell upon … Stockbery, 3–5; Gods warning to his people of England, esp. 3–4; Parker, True and terrible narration of a horrible earthquake, sig. A6V.

(190) Lawrrence Manley discerns a similar symbiosis between the discourse of preachers and pamphleteers in Literature and Culture, Ch. 6, esp. 305–15.

(191) A new ballad intituled, a bell-man for England, which night and day doth stand, to ring in all mens hearing, Gods vengeance is at hand ([c.1620]) (entered SR 6 Dec. 1586: ii. 461). Copy in Clark (ed.), Shirburn Ballads, 36–9. There were many versions of this ballad theme: William Birch, A warnyng to England, let London begin: to repent their iniquitie, & flie from their sin ([1565]) (entered SR 1564–5: i. 266); Alarum to the true harted subjectes of London (entered SR 1569–70: i. 412); A warnynge or pun-ysshement that Englonde shuld repente (entered SR 1570–1: i. 438); An alarme to England (entered SR 17 Sept. 1578: ii. 338); John Carr, A larum belle for London, with a caveat to England (1573); An ernest admonycon to repentance unto England especially to London (entered SR 10/20 Apr. 1580: ii. 369); The bell mans alarum (entered SR 27 Nov. 1589: ii. 534); A passing bell towling to call us to mind ([1625?]); Great Brittains arlarm [sic] ([1667?]); Thomas Robins, England's gentle admonition; or, a warning-piece to all sinners ([1674–9]); England's new bell-man ([1690]). See Watt, Cheap Print, 90, 337. See also William Samuel, A warnyng for the cittie of London ([1550?]).

(192) Of the horrible and wofull destruction of, Sodome and Gomorra ([1570])The historie of the prophet Jonas. The repentance of Ninivie that great citiecJonasSRThe story of JonasSRThe mysse deades of Jonas &cSRNowe have with ye to Ninive being a sonnet of RepentanceSRCheap Print

(193) Rafe Norris, A warning to London by the fall of Antwerp ([1577?]). Other lost ballads include: A warnynge songe to cities all to beware by Andwerps fall (entered SR 25 Jan. 1577: i. 308); Heavie newes to all Christendom from the wooful towne of Antwerp comme (entered SR 1 July 1577: ii. 313); A godlie exhortacon unto Englande to repent him of the evill and sinfull waies shewinge thexample and distruccon of Jerlm and Andwarp (entered SR 15 Nov. 1578: ii. 341). See also R. Simpson's introd. to his edn. of the play A Larum for London or The Seige of Antwerp. Together with The Spoyle of Antwerpe by George Gascoyne (1872), 10. The ‘moral’ of the play, like Gascoyne's tract and Barnaby Rich's Allarme to England (1578), is that London should awake from its dangerous security and trust more to the protection of the professional soldier and less to its wealth.

(194) John Fletcher, Monsieur Thomas. A comedy. Acted at the private house in Blacke Fryers (1639), sig-Hir

(195) John Barker, Of the horyble and woful destruccion of Jerusalem ([1569?]) (entered SR 1568–9: i. 380). For Josephus, see Joseph Ben Gorion's abridgement Compendious and most marvellous historie, and Lodge's trans., Famous and memorable workes of Josephus. E. D. Mackerness has traced much of the material cited in this section in ‘“Christs Teares” and the Literature of Warning’, English Studies, 33 (1952), 251–4.

(196) A warning or lanthorne to London. A dolefull destruction of faire JerusalemClark (ed.), Shirburn Ballads, 31–4SRA newe ballad of the destruccon of JerusalemSRA warning to all England by the dolefull destruction of Jerusalem &cSR

(197) Christs teares over Jerusalem. Or, a caveat for England, to call to God for mercy, lest we be plagued for our contempt and wickednesse ([c. 1640]) (entered to the ballad partners SR 14 Dec. 1624: iv. 131, but probably written c.1593). See Watt, Cheap Print, 98–9, 335. The ballad has been attributed to Thomas Deloney (Works, ed. Mann, 496), but this is doubtful. Thomas Nashe, Christs teares over Jerusalem, in Works, ed. McKerrow, ii.

(198) T[homas] D[eloney], Canaans calamine Jerusalems misery (1618) (entered 67? 5 Jan. 1598: iii. 100)

(199) A warning or lanthorne to LondonClark (ed.), Shirburn Ballads, 33

(200) Christs teares over Jerusalem

(201) Sermons on Luke xix. 41–5 include John Stockwood, A very fruitfull and necessary e sermon of the most lamentable destruction of Jerusalem (1584); F. S., Jerusalems fall, Englands warning; Lawrence, Golden trumpet; Featley, Sermon preached at a publike fast, in Clavis mystica. See also Thomas Wilson, Christs farewell to Jerusalem, and last prophesie (1614) (on Luke xxiii. 27–31); Jackson, A treatise concerning the signes of the time, in Diverse sermons, esp. 42–8, 80–7.

(202) Stockwood, Very fruitfull and necessarye sermon, sigs. B8r–C5r. On Miriam, see sigs. C3v–4rr

(203) Lawrence, Golden trumpet, 94–5

(204) The Siege of Jerusalem edited from MS. Laud, Misc. 656, ed. E. Kolbing and Mabel Day, EETS, OS 188 (1932) (an alliterative poem dating to the 1390s); Titus and Vespasian or the Destruction of Jerusalem in Rhymed Couplets edited from the London and Oxford MSS, ed. J. A. Herbert, Roxburghe Club (1905); The dystruccyon of Jherusalem by Vaspazyan and Tytus ([1513?]), trans, from a French chanson de geste.

(205) Mirk's Festial, ed. Erbe, 141–2; Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend or Lives of the Saints as Englished by William Caxton, 7 vols. (1900), iii. 166–8.

(206) See G. C. Moore Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, 1923), 93; and the anonymous article entitled ‘The Latin Plays acted before the University of Cambridge’ in Retrospective Review, 12 (1825), 15. Details of the payments made to those involved in the Coventry play (apparently written by a Mr Smythe of Oxford) can be found in the City Annals, printed in Ingram (ed.), Records of Early English Drama: Coventry, 303–9. For the earthquake and the 1591 council decision, see pp. 294, 332.

(207) Murray Roston, Biblical Drama in England: From the Middle Ages to the Present Day (1968), 118–19Birthpangs

(208) Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene, A looking glasse for London and England (1594), sigs. BIr, B3r, G21. Five quartos of this play survive, the last dated 1617. See Roston, Biblical Drama, 97–100.

(209) Jonson, Bartholomew Fayre, v. i. 6–13 repr. in Three Comedies, ed. Jamieson. See Patrick Collinson, ‘Bartholomew Fair: The Theatre invents Puritanism’, in David L. Smith, Richard Strier, and David Bevington (eds.), The Theatrical City: London's Culture, Theatre and Literature, 1576–1649 (Cambridge, 1995) 157–69. In Jonson's Every man out of his humour (1599), 11. i, Fungoso says: ‘There's a new motion of the city of Nineveh, with Jonas and the whale, to be seen at Fleet-bridge’. Quoted in Hyder E. Rollins (ed.), A Pepysian Garland: BlackLetter Broadside Ballds of the Years 1595–1639 (Cambridge, 1922), 66.

(210) The Diary of Thomas Crosfield M.A., B.D. Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, ed. Frederick S. Boas (1935), 54, 71, 79, 135

(211) Literature and CultureJeffrey Knapp, ‘Preachers and Players in Shakespeare's England’, Representations, 44 (1993), 29–59

(212) Thomas Wilson, The arte of rhetorique, for the use of all soche as are studious of eloquence (1563 edn.), fo. 2r-v

(213) Quotations from Bernard, Faithfull shepheard, 81, and see 66; Jackson, Judah must into captivitie, sig. A3V. See also Perkins, Arte of prophecying, in Workes, ii; Wilkins, Ecclesiastes; [Andreas Gerardus], The practise of preaching, otherwise called the path-way to the pulpit, trans. John Ludham (1577), esp. bk. 1, chs. 7 and 16.

(214) Sandys, Sermon made at the Spittle, in Sermons, ed. Ayre, 259

(215) Downame, Lectures upon … Hosea, 2nd pagination, 342

(216) Sutton, Englands summons, in Englands first and second summons, 128–9. Another strategy for capturing attention was the use of emphasis, repetition, or a catchy phrase or refrain. Sampson Price e.g. punctuated each stage of his sermon on Rev. ii. 5, Ephesus warning before her woe, with a single word, ‘Remember’.

(217) Haller, Rise of Puritanistn, 23–4

(218) Perkins, Faithfull and plaine exposition … of Zephaniah, in Workes, iii. 425.

(219) Hooker, The Danger of Desertion, in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al., 246; William Fenner, A treatise of the affections; or, the soules pulse (1642), 189. Hooker's sermon was ascribed to Fenner (another Essex preacher) in a posthumous edition of his sermons.

(220) Stephen Marshall, Meroz cursed (1641[1642])

(221) Quotation from Wakeman, Jonahs sermon and Ninevehs repentance, 59. See Henry Smith, The trumpet of the soule sounding to judgement, in Foure sermons, separately paginated in Sermons, sig. D2r: ‘when iniquitie hath played her part, vengeance leapes upon the stage, the Comedie is short, but the Tragedie is longer’. Bernard recommended that preachers ‘picture out vice in his deformitie; and draw out vertue in her lively colours’: Faithfull shepheard, 87, and see 68.

(222) Bourne, Rainebow, 46–8

(223) Adams, The gallants burden, in Workes, 22–3. For similar parades, see Lawrence, Golden trumpet, 42; Jackson, Londons new-yeeres gift, fo. 19ʼ; Jackson, Celestial! husbandrie, esp. 19–45; Benefield, Commentary … upon … Amos, 2nd pagination, 133.

(224) G. R. Owst, Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England: A Neglected Chapter in the History of English Letters and of the English People (Oxford, 1961), Ch. 7; Morton W. Bloomfield, The Seven Deadly Sins (Michigan, 1952); John Peter, Complaint and Satire in Early English Literature (Oxford, 1956), esp. Ch. 4.

(225) See J. H. Prynne, ‘English Poetry and Emphatical Language’, Proceedings of the British Academy, 74 (1989), 135–69 (I owe this reference and point to Patrick Collinson). See also George A. Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric and its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times (Chapel Hill, NC, 1980), Ch. 7.

(226) Benefield, Commentary… upon … Amos, 1st pagination, 242 (cf. 255); King, Lectures upon Jonas, 467; Donne, Sub-poena, 96. Bernard recommended the use of ‘loving terms’ and ‘mild exhortations’: Faithfull shepheard, 75.

(227) Faithfull shepheard, 67, 77

(228) Bisse, Two sermons, sig. D4r

(229) Benson, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse, 39; Lawrence, Golden trumpet, 61; Cooper, Certaine sermons, 188.

(230) William Christian, ‘Provoked Religious Weeping in Early Modern Spain’, in J. Davis (ed.), Religious Organization and Religious Experience, Association of Social Anthropologists Monograph, 21 (1982), 97–114; David Gentilcore, ‘“Adapt Yourselves to the People's Capabilities”: Missionary Strategies, Methods and Impact in the Kingdom of Naples, 1600–1800’, JEH 45 (1994), 269–96; Trevor Johnson, ‘Blood, Tears and Xavier-Water: Jesuit Missionaries and Popular Religion in the Eighteenth-Century Upper Palatinate’, in Bob Scribner and Trevor Johnson (eds.), Popular Religion in Germany and Central Europe, 1400–1800 (Basingstoke, 1996), esp. 192–4. Udny, Voyce of the cryer, 86–92. See also Augustine Thompson, Revival Preachers and Politics in Thirteenth Century Italy: The Great Devotion of 1233 (Oxford, 1992).

(231) Perkins, Arte of prophecying, in Workes, ii. 761; Bernard, Faithfull shepheard, 89; Abbot, Exposition upon the prophet Jonah, 409; [Gerardus], Practise of preaching, fos. 44r, 177r-v.

(232) Samuel Clarke, A collection of the lives of ten eminent divines (1662), 97, 114–15; DNB, s.n. John More. For More's portrait, see Henry Holland, Hercoologia Anglica hoc est clarissimorum et doctissimorum aliquot Anglorum qui floruerunt ah anno Cristi (1620), facing 208.

(233) DiaryJ-McCann and H. Connolly (eds.), Memorials of Father Augustine Baker and Other Documents relating to the English Benedictines, CRS 33 (1933)7 56–7

(234) Godly PeopleSamuel Clarke, The marrow of ecclesiastical history (1654), 851

(235) Puritan MomentClarke, Lives of thirty two English divines, 131

(236) Quoted in Francis Bremer and Ellen Rydell, ‘Performance Art? Puritans in the Pulpit’, History Today, 45/9 (1995), 52; Clarke, Lives of thirty two English divines, 12.

(237) Bernard, Faithfull shepheard, 89–90; [Gerardus], Practise of preaching, fo. 177v.

(238) McGiffert, ‘God's Controversy’, 1169

(239) King, Lectures upon Jonas, 456

(240) Lawrence, Golden trumpet, 14Burthen of Tyre

(241) Gore, Summer sermon, in Ten godly and fruitfull sermons, 29; Dyke, Sermon preached at the publicke fast, 9. See also Jackson, Judah must into captivitie, 7, 83–5; Abbot, Exposition upon the prophet Jonah, 10–11; Udny, Voyce of the cryer, 57.

(242) A. W., Fruitfull and godly sermon, sig. A7r-v

(243) Latimer, A most faithfull sermon, in Sermons, ed. Corrie, 246

(244) Hooker, The Danger of Desertion, in Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al., 244

(245) On Foxe, see Thomas Fuller, Abel redivivus or the dead yet speaking (1651), 381–2. Foxe's prayers on behalf of the nation during the crisis were credited with being ‘actually instrumental to the victory’. Latimer and Jewel were also alleged to have prophetic powers: Hugh Latimer, 27 sermons preached by the right reverende…maister Hugh Latimer (1562), sig. A4r and Laurence Humphrey, Joannis Juelli Angli, episcopi Sarisburiensis vita et mors (1573), 252–8. (I owe these references to Thomas Freeman.) On Ussher, Turner, Compleat history, pt 1, p. 66. On Preston, Sermons preached before his Majestic, 83–4; Ball, Life of the Renowned Doctor Preston, ed. Harcourt, 159.

(246) Bolton, Discourse about the state of true happinesse, in Workes, 164–87, quotations at 165, 164, 178; Andrewes, Certaine verie worthie, godly and profitable sermons, 169.

(247) Bolton, Discourse about the state of true happinesse, in Workes, 158; Gifford, Countrie divinitie, fo. 75r.

(248) Bernard, Faithfull shepheard, 71–2; Udny, Voyce of the cryer, 4, 11. Cf. William Hull, Repentance not to be repented of (1612), fo. 13v.

(249) Hampton, Proclamation of warre, 17; King, Lectures upon Jonas, 466; Stockwood, Sermon preached at Paules Crosse on Barthelmew day, 48, cf. 18; Price, Laver of the heart, 65, 69.

(250) Sutton, Englands summons, in Englands first and second summons, 16

(251) For some echoes in Scripture, see Lam. iii. 45; 1 Cor. iv. 13; Luke xxiv. 11.

(252) White, Londons warning, by Jerusalem, 60

(253) CUL Add. MS 3117. See e.g. fo. 15v. He usually added that the preacher had raised many good ‘excamples’ and ‘docctrines’, fos. 9r-v, 10r. Saxby's notebook also includes a transcription of most of Thomas Sutton's Englands second summons: fos. 119v–129r.

(254) Manningham, Diary, ed. Bruce, 75

(255) Sermon preached at Paules Crosse on Barthelmew dayrHooker's The Danger of Desertion have survived: see id., Writings in England and Holland, ed. Williams et al., 221–2

(256) Ch. 4Bee, Most wonderfull and true stone, ed. Denison, 2

(257) Marshall, Divine project, 40 [vere 44]

(258) Schmidt, Holy Fairs, 87–8.

(259) The Works of Thomas Goodwin, D.D., Sometime President of Magdalene College, Oxford, ed. J. C. Miller, 11 vols. (Edinburgh, 1861–5), vol. ii, pp. xvii–xviiiWinthrop Paperset al

(260) Brigden, ‘Youth and the English Reformation’, 100.