Preaching against the Puritan Movement
Where anti-Catholicism is a consistent feature of the Paul’s Cross sermons, preaching against puritanism is periodic and in response to particular moments of crisis (the vestiarian controversy, the publication of the Admonition to Parliament, and later the Marprelate tracts). Where anti-Catholic preaching invariably insisted on a sharp division between the contending parties, much Elizabethan preaching on puritanism blurs that boundary, treating those agitating against episcopacy as ‘erring brethren’. It is not until the ascendency of ‘avant-garde conformists’ at Paul’s Cross in the 1630s that anti-puritan preaching becomes commonplace, and only then do preachers follow the lead of Richard Bancroft’s 1589 sermon in treating puritans as schismatics.
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