The Anglican Reformed Church and Her Clergy in the Days of Their Destitution and Suffering during the Great Rebellion in the Seventeenth Century.
IT appears that the resolution of the Parliament to prohibit the reverential practice of "bowing at the name of Jesus," had given very serious offence to many of the more serious-minded members--even of those who were, in some matters, not altogether opposed to the Puritanical movement, whilst they retained a steady affection for the episcopal government of the Church. Sir Edward Bering (notwithstanding his inconsistent and preposterous conduct on one occasion) was of this class. He spoke with great feeling and earnestness against such a resolution; and Southey, in his "Book of the Church," has [304/305] given a long extract from his speech. The following passages are remarkable.
"And must I, Sir," (addressing the Speaker,) "hereafter do no exteriour reverence, none at all, to God my Saviour, at the mention of His saving name, Jesus? Why, Sir, not to do it, to omit it, to leave it undone, it is questionable, it is controvertible; it is, at least, a moot point in divinity. But to deny it; to forbid it to be done take heed, Sir; God will never own you, if you forbid this honour. Truly, Sir, it horrors me to think of this. For my part, I do humbly ask pardon of this House, and thereupon I take my leave and liberty to give you my resolute resolution. I may, I must, I will do bodily reverence to my Saviour; and that upon occasion taken at the mention of His saving name, Jesus. And if I should do it also as oft as the name of God, or Jehovah, or Christ, is named in our solemn devotions, I do not know any argument in divinity to controul me.
"Mr. Speaker, I shall never be frighted from this, with that fond, shallow argument, You make an idol of a name! I beseech you, Sir, paint me a voice; make a sound visible, if you can. When you have taught mine ears to see, and mine eyes to hear, I may then perhaps understand this subtle argument. In the mean time, reduce this dainty species of new [305/306] idolatry under its proper head, the second commandment, if you can; and if I find it there, I will fly from it ultra Sauromatas, any whither with you. Take heed, Sir, and let us all take heed whither we are going. If Christ be Jesus, if Jesus be God, all reverence, exteriour as well as interiour, is too little for Him. I hope we are not going up the back stairs to Socinianism. In a word, Sir, I shall never obey your order, so long as I have a head to lift up to Heaven, so long as I have an eye to lift up to Heaven. For these are corporal bowings, and my Saviour shall have them at His name, Jesus."