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Lachrymae Ecclesiae

The Anglican Reformed Church and Her Clergy in the Days of Their Destitution and Suffering during the Great Rebellion in the Seventeenth Century.

By George Wyatt

London: W. J. Cleaver, 1844.


IT seems fitting here in the outset to say a few words in regard to the epithets--Catholic, Reformed, and Protestant--which are in the following pages, as well as in common use, occasionally applied to the Church of England. She is equally entitled to the three. She is Catholic, because she maintains and promulgates doctrines as articles of faith, neither more nor less than what her Divine Head all along intended should distinguish His Church in all ages and in all places; neither more nor less than what the Apostles themselves, and the very first churches [vii/viii] planted by them promulgated;--what the universal Church does still promulgate, and will do, until "all things shall be fulfilled." For the same reason she is also Catholic in her outward form and constitution, being governed by Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, with a due administration of the sacraments--as far, at least, as can be done, under that grievous relaxation and neglect of discipline to which, through the lukewarmness of her children, the Church of England has so long been reduced. Were she however to teach any doctrine as an article of faith, which neither the Apostles nor any of their churches ever did teach, she would so far forfeit her title to true Catholicity. It therefore follows, that whatever doctrines may have been propounded as articles of faith by certain sects or offshoots of Christians--such as Arians, Antinomians, [viii/ix] Brownists, Baptists, Papists, and a hundred others--since the days of the Apostles, and consequently never known to or dreamt of by them, cannot be truly Catholic, however fondly that term may be assumed by such parties--they are merely fond conceits or inventions of certain individuals, or bodies of Christians, subsequent to the Apostolic age, and are there fore to be accounted, not as Catholic, but merely as sectarian.

Against the Church of England, how ever, none of these charges can be alleged. Whatever doctrine is peculiar to her, was peculiar to the Apostles and the first churches. In spirit, therefore, and in truth, as well as in constitution, whatever defects there may be in the practical working of her system, seeing that weak and fallible mortals are the agents,--but in spirit and constitution she is built solely [ix/x] upon the Apostolic and primitive model, nothing being added to it but such regulations and usages as time and circumstances have required.

Why the Church of England is also Reformed and Protestant, as well as Catholic, is easily explained. Up to the period of the Great Reformation in the sixteenth century, the established church of this nation was overlaid with the thick darkness of Popery. But the time then arrived, when she began to see through all these errors, (however true it may be, that certain enlightened individuals had long seen some of them before,) and what was still better, she not only saw through them, but she exerted her own energies to emancipate herself from them. In this she completely succeeded; and thus, from having been so corrupt, she became a Reformed Church; whilst at the same [x/xi] time openly protesting against the manifold abominations of Popery, she also, for this reason and for this only, has ever since been justly styled a Protestant Church.

But it is a loose and ignorant fashion of speech to confine the term "Catholic," as in common parlance is too much done, to only the Church of Rome and her members. [An illustration of the awkward effects of this careless and inconsiderate way of talking, may be found in the following anecdote. It is related of a certain Dignitary of our Church, that, being in the chair on a public occasion, he said, in special allusion to the Church of Rome, "I, for my part, have always been opposed to the Catholic Faith," "which," (instantly rejoined another person in a low tone,) "except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved!" The Dignitary soon saw and felt his error.] The Catholicity of that communion is well known to be mixed up with [xi/xii] many corruptions and novelties, the Catholicity of the Church of England is equally well known to be unmixed; and her Protestantism is only a negative quality, whereby she repudiates all the errors of Romanism. The true, genuine, unmixed Catholic, therefore, is the sincere and consistent member of the Church of England.

But what after all became of this Church during the Great Rebellion in the seventeenth century? Never was the Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, or the pure religion, worship, and ordinances which she would inculcate, more outrageously mocked, counterfeited, and trampled upon, than under the reign of that "carnal" and most uncatholic system of Dissent or Puritanism, which marked that unhappy period. This is a point which few will venture to dispute. [xii/xiii] Whatever therefore may tend, however feeble the attempt, to expose the unrighteous workings of that "strong delusion," may at least be, in all Christian charity, an excusable, even should it not be a successful, undertaking. Under this anticipated exculpation of his endeavours, the Author of the following pages ventures to commit them to the press; gladly, at the same time, expressing his obligations to one learned Divine in particular, the Rev. Samuel Farmar Jarvis, D.D., of the Episcopal Church in the United States, whose forthcoming volume, "A Chronological introduction to the History of the Church,"* will so highly enrich the stores of ecclesiastical literature, and whose kind and judicious suggestions, communicated on several occasions to the Author of this book, have afforded him the most valuable service.

Sept. 1844.

* "A CHRONOLOGICAL INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH; being a New Inquiry into the true Dates of the Birth and Death of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST; and containing an Original Harmony of the Four Gospels, arranged in the exact order of time. By the Rev. SAMUEL FARMAR JARVIS, D.D., LL.D., [xiii/xiv] Historiographer of the Church; Member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Antiquarian Society, the Historical Societies of New York and Connecticut, Corresponding Member of the National Institute, &c. &c." The motives for such attention and interest spring from the origin, mode of investigation pursued, plan, results, and consequences of the work.

I. It derives its origin from an appointment by the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in General Convention assembled, has been approved by the House of Bishops, and recommended by them to the members of the Church at large, because the Church as a body, has no funds to publish it The work is, therefore, to be considered as originating with the American branch of the Church.

II. Its mode of investigation has been by the rigid observance of the following rules:--1. To take no truth for granted, but to examine every necessary question separately on its own merits, by the aid of original historians, sacred and profane, and the accurate calculations of modern science. 2. On essential questions, to allow no conjecture; and on minor points, to weigh probabilities, showing in all cases where certainty ends, and probability begins. 3. To assume no theory before examination, but to follow testimony whithersoever it may lead, and investigate truth only for its own sake. 4. In the examination of testimony, not to rely upon the mere statements of [xiv/xv] modern writers, however learned and able, but to go at once to the original author. 5. To give his testimony, as far as possible, in his own language, in connection with the context; and by faithful translations to make the whole as intelligible to the common English reader, as to the learned.

III. Its plan has been to re-examine and adjust, by accurate tables, the ancient and modern computations of time; to connect with these, the Consular and Imperial Chronology of Rome; and to demonstrate the absolute truth of these tables by a careful examination of the Greek and Latin historians of the Empire, a critical comparison of their testimony, and a corroboration of it, wherever possible, by the accuracy of modern astronomical computation. This rigid examination of fundamental questions alone, has enabled the author to reconcile the Capitoline marbles with the dates of Varro, by detecting a consulship suppressed by the moderns, in opposition to ancient testimony, and the consequent mistake of a whole year in the chronology; and thus the way has been cleared for the important results, as to the personal history of our Lord, at which he has arrived.

IV. These results are the following:--1. That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem on Sunday, March 21, being the tenth day of the Jewish month Nisan, A.J.P. 4741, year of the reformed calendar of Julius Caesar 73, and of the vulgar Christian era 28; that he was betrayed by Judas on the following Wednesday; that his passion commenced on [xv/xvi] Thursday evening, March 25th, after the passover, and was consummated by his death on the cross, Friday, March 26th; that he rose from the grave on Easter Sunday, March 28th; ascended into heaven on Thursday the 6th of May, and sent down the Holy Ghost on Sunday, May 16th, which was the day of Pentecost that year, and consequently the birth-day of the Christian Church. 2. That the ministry of St. John the Baptist probably began on or about the great day of Atonement, Fri day, September 29th, in the first year of Pilate's administration, the consulship of Marcus Asinius Agrippa, and Cossus Cornelius Lentulus, A.J.P. 4737, the 15th year of the associate government of Tiberius, the 12th year of his sole reign, and the 24th of the common Christian era. Consequently that the ministry of St. John, and of our blessed Lord united, made up the period of 3 1/2 years, the prophetic half week of Daniel.

3. That our Lord's baptism probably took place on the Jewish sabbath, January 6th, A.J.P. 4738, when he had just entered on his thirty-first year, and that he was crucified, according to the consentient voice of antiquity, in the consulship of the two Gemini, when he was thirty-three years and three months old.

4. That his birth took place at the time of the census or enrolment at Bethlehem, on the 25th of December, A.J.P. 4707, A.U.C. 747, in the consulship of D. Laelius Balbus and C. Antistius Vetus, or Veter, the 35th year of the reign of Herod the Great, and the very same year in which Augustus shut the Temple of Janus the third time, in token of universal peace.

v. These results have led to several important and unexpected consequences; the chief of which has been the construction of a new and original harmony of the four gospels, in which the events of our Saviour's ministry fall into the natural order of time, and most of the dislocations are avoided which have so perplexed modern harmonists.

In order to exhibit more perfectly the symmetrical arrangement, and essential truth of what has now been stated, a synchronized table is annexed from the birth of Augustus, to the [xvi/xvii] death of Tiberius, a period of exactly one hundred years, showing at one view how all the events of Gospel History completely accord with the dates of the profane history of the same period.

It will at once be seen that the very accuracy of the work, and the desire of making its proofs accessible to unlearned as well as learned readers, must increase the expense of publication, and, therefore, justifies this appeal to the British Nation, as the patron of sacred learning.

Extracts from the Journals (of 1838 and 1841) of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

House of Bishops, Saturday 16th Sept. 1838.

"On motion of Right Rev. Bishop Hopkins, the two following resolutions were passed, and sent to the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies for concurrence.

"Resolved, (the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies concurring,) That the Rev. Samuel Farmar Jarvis, D.D., LL.D., be appointed Historiographer of the Church, with a view to his preparing, from the most original sources now extant, a faithful Ecclesiastical History, reaching from the Apostles times, to the formation of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States."

The Second Resolution had reference to the History of the Protestant Episcopal Church, by the Rev. Dr. Hawks.

House of Deputies, Journal, p. 79.

"A message was received from the House of Bishops, transmitting certain resolutions, appointing the Rev. Drs. Jarvis and Hawks, to prepare an Ecclesiastical History.

"Whereupon, on motion, the House concurred with the House of Bishops in passing the said resolutions."


"Whereupon, on motion of Bishop Hopkins, seconded by Bishop Doane, it was resolved, that the letter and manuscripts be referred to a committee of the House.

[xviii] "Bishops Hopkins, Doane, and Whittingham, were appointed the Committee.

"The Committee to whom were referred the letter and manuscripts of the Rev. Dr. Jarvis, reported as follows:--

The Committee to whom were referred the letter and the manuscripts of the Rev. Dr. Jarvis, Historiographer of the Church, beg leave to report as follows:--

That they regard, with great satisfaction, the progress which the learned author has made, in preparing for the press the first volume of the series which his appointment as Historiographer was designed to bring forth: and consider it a duty on the part of the Church, to give all the encouragement in their power to its publication. It appears to them, as well from the synopsis of its contents, as from the best examination which their limited time would allow, to be a thorough and comprehensive analysis of all the evidence extant, whether sacred or profane, upon the most difficult and important points in ecclesiastical chronology, namely, the precise years of the birth and death of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Committee take pleasure in the acknowledgment, that notwithstanding their familiarity with the author's long-established reputation for deep and accurate learning, they were struck with the extraordinary research and exact fidelity exhibited in the work submitted to them, and hail its production as being calculated to reflect honour upon himself, and the body to which he belongs. With these views, the Committee respectfully recommend the following resolution:--

Resolved, That the House of Bishops receive with great satisfaction, the assurance that the first volume introductory to the Ecclesiastical History of the Rev. Dr. Jarvis, their Historiographer, is now ready for publication. They have examined and approve the plan of the work, and commend it to the patronage of the Church.


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