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bound himself to the observance by the motto of his episcopal seal, "Væ mihi si non Evangelizavero," which he continued after his appointment to the Primacy. When the Roman Catholics expressed a wish to hear him preach, but hesitated at going into the church, he went so far as to indulge their prejudices, and preached to them in the Sessions' House. The sermons produced such an effect, that the priests prohibited the members of their congregation from listening to them in any place whatever. His conferences with the Roman Catholics led him to perceive that one of the strongest holds which their religion had upon their minds, was the notion of its antiquity, the notion that they held unimpaired the doctrines handed down from generation to generation. To eradicate these false opinions the Bishop composed his tract upon the religion of the ancient Irish, designed to shew that the creed of Pope Pius was as unlike the creed of their ancestors, as it was to that of the Protestants whom they regarded as heretics, and this work he published some years afterwards in London.

In the commencement of the year 1622 a Royal Commission was issued for the visitation of the province of Armagh, and the several bishops made a return of the state of their several dioceses. The report for the diocese of Meath was of course drawn up by the new Bishop, and is still preserved in the Library of the University of Dublin. As this document was the first episcopal act of Bishop Ussher and contains very curious information with respect to the state of the Church at that period, I have printed the return at length in the Appendix". Though the diocese of Meath was at that time the best arranged and most civilized part of Ireland, the description affords lamentable proof of the want of adequate religious instruction for the people, and gives a ready answer to the question, why the Reformation did not make greater progress; want of churches, want of residences, and want of income for the clergy.

* Dr. Bernard says that an anagram was given to him of his name James Meath, I am the same.

y See Appendix V. p. li.

In this year the clamour unjustly raised against him procured the removal of the Lord Deputy Grandison. His conduct in enforcing the Penal Statutes against the Roman Catholics and obliging the Regulars to leave the country, had been grossly exaggerated into crimes of enormous oppression and tyranny. The clamour thus excited by the Roman Catholics was industriously extended by many of the most powerful members of the State, whom the Lord Deputy with more honesty than caution had forced to disgorge the plunder, which they had iniquitously made of the Church lands. This was an offence not to be forgiven, and these lawless titled plunderers joined the cry of the Roman Catholics, and beset the throne with applications to remove the Lord Deputy. Their complaints were successful, and the King removed the Deputy, though with strange inconsistency he at the same time heaped honours upon him as the reward of his services.

The success of these schemes was attributed by the Roman Catholics solely to their own influence, and raised their spirits to such a height that they could no longer be restrained within the limits of decent order and subordination. While the country was in this state of excitement, Henry Cary Viscount Falkland arrived in Dublin, and was sworn in Lord Deputy on the 8th of September. On this occasion the Bishop of Meath was called upon to preach, and in a letter to Lord Grandison gives the following account of the sermon and of the reasons which induced him to deliver such advice. "The day that my Lord of Falkland received the sword I preached in Christ Church, and fitting myself to the present occasion took for my text these words in the thirteenth to the Romans' He beareth not the sword in vain.' There I shewed, 1. What was meant by this sword. 2. The subject wherein that power vested. 3. The matters wherein it was exercised. 4. Thereupon what it was to bear the sword in vain. Whereupon falling upon the duty of the magistrate in seeing those laws executed that were made for the furtherance of God's service, I first declared that no more was to be expected herein from the subordinate magistrate, than he had received in commission from the supreme; in whose power it lay to limit the other

at his pleasure. Secondly, I wished that if his Majesty (who is under God our supreme Governor), were pleased to extend the clemency towards his subjects that were recusants, some order notwithstanding might be taken with them, that they should not give us public affronts, and take possession of our churches before our faces. And that it might appear that it was not without cause that I made this motion, I instanced in two particulars that had lately fallen out in mine own diocess: the one certified unto me by Mr. John Ankers, preacher of Athlone, a man well known unto your Lordship, who wrote unto me, that going to read prayers at Kilkenny in Westmeath he found an old priest and about forty with him in the church; who was so bold as to require him (the said Ankers) to depart, until he had done his business.' The other concerning the friars who not content to possess the house of Multifernan alone, whence your Lordship had dislodged them, went about to make collections for the re-edifying of another abbey near Mullingar, for the entertaining of another swarm of locusts. These things I touched only in general, not mentioning any circumstances of persons or places. Thirdly, I did entreat, that whatsoever connivance were used unto others, the laws might be strictly executed against such as revolted from us, that we might at least keep our own, and not suffer them without all fear to fall away from us. Lastly, I made a public protestation, that it was far from my mind to excite the magistrate unto any violent courses against them, as one that naturally did abhor cruel dealings, and wished that effusion of blood might be held rather the badge of the whore of Babylon, than of the Church of God." Such is the account which the Bishop gives of his sermon. It certainly was not received in any friendly spirit. The Roman Catholic priests persuaded their flocks that the preacher had told the Lord Deputy, that "the sword had rested too long in the sheath," and that the arm of persecution should be raised against all recusants. The censure was not confined to the Roman Catholics: the Primate, Hampton, wrote a very severe letter to the Bishop, and

See Works, vol. xv. p. 183.

advised him "to give lenitives of his own accord for all which was conceived overharsh and sharp." He adds a recommendation to leave Dublin, and spend more time in his diocese. The result of all this clamour was, that the Bishop of Meath found it necessary to preach an explanatory sermon to appease the tumult, but further information is not afforded: Cox does not relate where the sermon was preached, or on what occasion, or whether the Lord Deputy was present. Dr. Parr and Dr. Bernard, who must have been acquainted with the whole transaction, preserve a most mysterious silence upon the subject, they never even mention the occurrence, which is the more remarkable as in the collection of letters published by Dr. Parr there is found not only the Bishop's letter to Lord Grandison, but also the Primate's severe reproof.

It appears however that the Government could not have been displeased with the Bishop's sermon, for within two months he was called upon to execute a very delicate and important office in the Privy Council". "Certain officers" had refused to take the oath of supremacy and were summoned before the Privy Council to be censured. On this occasion the Bishop of Meath was appointed to address the recusants: the object of his speech is thus stated by himself: "What the danger of the law is for refusing this oath hath been sufficiently opened by my Lords the Judges; and the quality and quantity of that offence hath been aggravated to the full by those that have spoken after them. The part which is most proper for me to deal in, is the information of the conscience touching the truth and equity

a Cox's Hist. of Ireland, vol. ii. p. 39.

b There is some difficulty in ascertaining the date of his appointment as a Privy Counsellor. In Dr. Parr's collection of letters there is one from Mr. H. Holcroft to the Bishop of Meath dated June 23, 1623, making an apology for not having sooner forwarded his letter of appointment to be a Privy Counsellor. As he certainly was a Privy Connsellor in November 1622, the date of this letter must be a mistake, and I suppose ought to have been June 1622.-See vol. xv. p. 189. King James had in November 1621 issued a King's letter granting to the Bishop a remittal of his First Fruits as a proof of his regard.

The speech is given at length, vol. ii. p. 459.

of the matters contained in the oath." The Bishop stated that there were two branches of the oath which required special consideration. "The one positive, acknowledging the supremacy of the Government of these realms, in all causes whatsoever, to rest in the King's highness only; the other negative, renouncing all jurisdictions and authorities of any foreign prince or prelate within his Majesty's dominions." Dr. Leland states that the Bishop "enforced the lawfulness of the oath with powerful eloquence." I must differ from this excellent critic; indeed I can only account for his statement upon the supposition that he never read the speech, for there does not appear to me one eloquent passage in the whole argument. I should have said that any appearance of eloquence was studiously avoided, and the speech confined to mere quotations of authorities. However it is said to have produced an effectd. Dr. Parr states "that divers of the offenders being satisfied that they might lawfully take their oaths, did thereby avoid the sentence of præmunire, then ready to be pronounced against them." A copy of the Bishop's speech was sent to the King, who expressed in the most flattering terms his sense of the abi

The correctness and authority of the interpretation was maintained many years after. In 1662 the Earl of Cassilis refused to take the oath of supremacy unless an explanation were made of the supremacy, as the words of the oath were large: and he stated that when the oath was enacted in England a clear explanation was given in one of the Articles of the Church of England, and more copiously afterwards in a discourse by Archbishop Ussher, published by King James' order.-See Burnet, Hist. of his own Times, vol. i. p. 144.

• A curious proof is afforded by this speech of the Bishop of Meath that the Irish Articles never were fully sanctioned. He refers for an explanation of his position "that the power of the civil sword only is meant by that Government," to the Book of Articles agreed upon in the Convocation holden in London in 1562, and quotes at length the thirty-seventh Article. He then proceeds: "If it be here objected that the authority of Convocation is not a sufficient ground for the exposition of that which was enacted in Parliament; I answer that these Articles stand confirmed, not only by the Royal assent of the Prince (for the establishing of whose supremacy the oath was framed) but also by a special Act of Parliament, 13 Eliz. c. 12." Now he might have quoted the very same words from the Irish Articles, and it would have been more suited to his subject to have done so, if he had not been impeded by the want of sanction to the Irish Articles which the English possessed.

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