Monday, January 09, 2006

How did someone like Andrewes exist?

I have spent the day correcting some quotations and notes from my reading and I was particularly working on Frere's volume A History of the English Church in the Reigns of Elizabeth I and James I 1558-1625.It is interesting that I read again a quotation that spanned three pages of this tome that really give a clear picture of what was going on in Andrewes' day as well as who Andrewes really was. I leave it here for your interest.This is a MUST READ!!!
Side by side with the recovery of a more liberal and catholic theology, there was going on also a recovery of decency and order in public worship, and some approximation to the standard of external ceremonial and ornament which had been set up at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, but never yet reached. In this respect, as also in matters of theology, the principal leader was the saintly bishop, Lancelot Andrewes, who in 1619 was transferred from Ely to Winchester. To men of his reverent type of mind, emancipated to some extent from the mere prejudices of anti-Roman feeling, it seemed only natural that the three low bows with which the courtier approached the king should be used by the celebrant at his approach to God, and that the reverence which was made towards the empty throne of the monarch should also be made towards the holy Table. Such things as these were the natural outcome of a reverent mind. Other ceremonial enrichments were taken from the practice of the early Church, or from the customs of the East, which seemed at the time less open to misunderstanding than old English or Western ceremonies. Thus there began the habit of turning to the east for the creed at daily prayer and eucharist; the use of a credence-table and of a chalice veil—called by its Eastern name of "air." With all this innovation the preservation of old customs was not neglected: the copes and wafer-bread, the solemn customs of offering at the offertory, the washing of the priest's hands before he prepared the elements, the mingling of water with wine in the chalice,—these and similar customs were resuscitated or carefully preserved. The use of incense in the service was restored, and a censer formed part of the church plate which Andrewes solemnly consecrated for the dean and chapter in Worcester Cathedral. It does not appear that in any of these respects the bishop was a zealous appear that in any of these respects the bishop was a zealous his own chapel, and, as they more and more commended themselves, his chapel became the model of other cathedrals besides Worcester, and his example was the standard of a growing school of followers. It is difficult to estimate the effect of such modest influence. When Andrewes died on September 25, 1626, he left behind him a Church, which he had defended against its enemies on sound catholic lines as no one else had done, which he had filled with a new and richer theology, and refreshed with the imperishable fragrance of a saintly example. The little book of his Private Prayers, which has done more than anything to spread his fame and influence, was not known outside the narrow circle of his most intimate friends until the next generation. The chief of the extant manuscript copies is one which was given by him to Laud: it thus serves as a link between the two periods; for though Andrewes' death falls in Charles's reign, his life belongs to the earlier period, while Laud's activity, though it was becoming very manifest in James's day, belongs properly to the later era. Moreover, in spite of the obvious difference of character and circumstances, Laud was the lineal successor of Andrewes; his resistance to the Calvinist theology at Oxford was the counterpart of Andrewes' quiet rebellion at Cambridge, and alike they passed from the highest academic honours to a deanery and to a bishopric. No doubt there is a striking contrast between the brusque ways of Laud at Gloucester in forcing compliance upon his chapter and cathedral with regard to the position of the holy Table, and the gentle ways of Andrewes in quietly recovering the dignity of the services at Westminster Abbey, and devoting his leisure to the fatherly care of the boys at the school. But Laud would have been more overbearing still if he had not imbibed from Andrewes the gentleness which showed itself so heroically in the days of his adversity; and the quiet work of Andrewes would have been robbed of half its best effect if it had not been carried on after his death by the bustling energy of Laud. 386 387 388


Blogger J. Gordon Anderson said...


Fascinating! I must read that book sometime.

At the parish I attended in seminary we turned east at the Creed. I never knew that was an eastern Christian custom.

great to have you on "Faith and Life". It gets pretty lively sometimes.

2:45 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, I can see that. I am not sure my questions are getting answered. But, it's good to be there with like-minded priests who enjoy Andrewes' theology. Thanks for posting again Gordon. How is the honeymoon still coming along? ;-)

4:00 pm  
Blogger James the Thickheaded said...

I read that Andrewes was not only courtly and gentle, but sufficiently witty to captivate the court. Maybe I've got that wrong, but assuming I'm not batty, have you ever come accross an example of this?

4:12 am  

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