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Lord Deputy Wentworth, with whom he had major policy disagreements, nevertheless remained a staunch friend, even down to his death on the scaffold. A second, inescapable reason for the universal respect was the depth and range of his learning. The number of disciplines that he mastered—biblical textual scholarship; systematic theology; dogmatics; ancient history, patristics, church history; chronology, astronomy, ancient languages—enabled him to tackle a series of major academic problems: the text of the letters of Ignatius, one of the earliest church fathers; the age of the world; the origin of the creeds; the authority of the Hebrew and the septuagint texts of the Bible; episcopal government in the Church; the origins of Christianity in Britain and Ireland; the history of Pelagianism and the nature of predestination.

Not that he did not have strong opinions—he did, and, for all his mildness and gentleness, was quite prepared to berate kings when he felt strongly. Introduction 5 of academic expression was often indirect and cautious, piling up quotations and citations with minimal comment, and thereby enabling a wide range of subsequent scholars and propagandists and charlatans to claim endorsement from Ussher for their own startlingly diverse views.

All this poses a double problem for biographers. First, even before they begin writing, they suffer from an immediate and crippling defect: their subject is more learned than they are. The Ussher who appears in the pages of later works is, therefore, as varied as the writers themselves. Indeed even the same biographer could change his mind about where to place his subject. A biographical dictionary of the worthies of Ireland from the earliest period to the present time London, ; R.

Even here, though, judgement was shaped by authorial standpoint. Knox was preparing the most important scholarly examination of Ussher since Elrington, with twin doctoral theses and numerous articles culminating in his book. Bernard ed. Collins ed. This approach springs from the desire—fuelled perhaps by my own position as an historian in a theology department—to recapture some of the richness of the interconnection between these various disciplines, so close in the early modern period, but often conceived in modern universities as separate.

Thus his interest in apocalyptic passages of the Bible—the mysterious prophetic imagery of the book of Revelation, for example—translated directly into his attitude towards the papacy and his rather unyielding policy towards Catholics in Ireland. Similarly, his study of early Irish Christianity had a surprisingly direct relevance to the way in which he viewed the position of protestants in early-seventeenth-century Ireland. His academic reputation, his mildness and gentleness of manner, the often oblique style of his writings, and his lack of overt political ambition helped create the image of the scholarly saint, and enabled him to say things in public which other ecclesiastics would have been afraid to utter.

The condemned men, however, contemptuously rejected his ministrations: They saw themselves, not as traitors, but as loyal Catholics. As they progressed through the streets, Netterville and Robert Scurlock joined together in saying the Ave Maria antiphonally. I interrupted their prayers and exhorted them to pray only unto God. In the end, he claimed, he allowed himself to be captured and imprisoned in Dublin Castle in the hope that this would bring him face to face with his opponents.

It did, though perhaps not quite in the way he had intended. Both refused. Frustrated, he was reduced to shouting challenges at passers-by from his window. Finally, James Ussher stepped into the breach. Ussher, like Fitzsimon, was a university-educated product of the Dublin aldermanic elite—indeed, the two were cousins—who was to go on to become a learned professor and play a leading role in the Irish church.

The young student took the standard protestant line of arguing that the evidence pointed to the pope as that man of sin foretold in the Bible. Wright, The Ussher Memoirs Dublin, Ingolstadt, — Contrarie to which assertion, the forsayd M. Nugents perswasion, then M. Rider would recant. Yf it could not; then M. Nugent would become a protestant. Fitzsimon then offered Rider a public disputation, and was granted access to a clerk and to books from Trinity College library. But, according to Fitzsimon, Rider then got cold feet. Fitzsimon offered to submit their disputation to the fellows of Trinity College as judges, but Rider prevaricated, preferring Oxford University.

But the mutual incomprehension of Jones and Netterville and his companions, like the inconclusiveness of the arguments in the debates, should not mislead us. Formal religious controversy in the Reformation era was rarely about clear conclusions or winning over opponents. Thus the execution of Netterville and his companions was only an apparent defeat: for they reappeared after their deaths as martyrs in the Catholic cause.

The result was a stark divergence. At the very time when the English secular sword had triumphed in Ireland, it was apparent that English religious power most decidedly had not. In most countries where the Reformation made progress, there was a small but always vocal minority of committed natives who pressed for the rapid adoption of protestant theology, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.

Ireland, though was different. Explanations for this phenomenon vary. Shiels and Diana Wood eds. Political power was fractured. The legacy of the incomplete Anglo-Norman conquest was a government in Dublin, centred on the Pale and the main towns of the south and east, which controlled only a part of the country.

Large areas of the island were under the sway of native Irish chieftains, many of whom only had passing dealings with the Crown. Political tensions were exacerbated by ethnic divisions, as three different groupings vied for power. Because of these obvious differences, each group posed distinct challenges for the reformers. Thus, for example, while it was widely acknowledged elsewhere in Europe that the Reformation was a vernacular movement seeking to bring Bible and liturgy to the people in their own language, in Ireland this immediately posed the question: which language, Irish or English?

To the new English and Anglo-Irish, committed to what they saw as a superior civilization, it should be English; but to the native Irish, a vernacular reformation in English was an oxymoron. Controversy and Religious Identity 17 to the royal supremacy, and thence to protestantism. The shallow nature of this loyalty was, however, exposed by the relative ease of the transition back to Catholicism under Mary. Two bishops refused the oath of supremacy and were deprived; others, however, took it, a marked contrast to England, where nearly all the Marian bishops were, for various reasons, replaced.

But in Ireland the pace of change was far slower, with the emphasis being placed on the need to preserve continuity so as not to drive away loyal but traditionally minded clergy: thus permission was given to continue to use the Latin prayer book and the only confession of faith which the Church possessed was a pale imitation of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the 12 articles of In such an equivocal environment, identifying the religious stance and ideological assumptions of even the most prominent lay people is deeply problematic.

Lord Deputy Sidney reversed that process under Mary and Elizabeth. Anglo-Irish laymen such as Sir Thomas Cusack or Sir James Stanihurst could thus continue to play central roles in public life regardless of monarch and religion. Under Mary, Creef became precentor, but he retained this post after the accession of Elizabeth up to his death in What to one historian is a deeply conservative community appears to another to be one imbued with the optimistic reformist ideals of humanism.

Their secular allegiance to the Crown was intertwined with an equally strong sense of religious allegiance to the papacy, symbolized for the Anglo-Irish by the fact that Ireland had originally been granted to the English king by Pope Adrian VII in the bull Laudabiliter. Tempest, , 56, , ; J. Controversy and Religious Identity 19 exercise of the authority of state and church through ecclesiastical commissions and church courts, would, together with protestant preaching, slowly deepen religious commitment.

This generally proved to be the case in England, but even there, as recent historians have stressed, the progress of protestantism was often slow. This became abundantly clear in the s, when relations between the government and the Anglo-Irish deteriorated dramatically. The breakdown was the product of a complex interplay between religious and secular developments. The papal bull of , Regnans in excelsis, introduced a new tension into relations between the Anglo-Irish and the English authorities by excommunicating Elizabeth and absolving Catholics from their responsibility to obey an heretical queen.

Though the vast majority of the Anglo-Irish continued to serve their monarch, doubt had now been cast on their loyalty. Critically, a few Anglo-Irish leaders took up the challenge of the papal bull. Canny ed. These fears led the Dublin authorities to take increasingly harsh and brutal measures to suppress resistance—thousands were summarily executed under martial law during the s and s, and the Desmond rising ended with particular savagery.

During the s the Anglo-Irish began to abandon the increasingly protestant colleges of Oxford, where they were required to take the oath of supremacy, and move instead, like Fitzsimon, to the Catholic universities in mainland Europe. Wainewright ed. The next member we encounter in the state papers is Roger Creef, who in complained, along with other priminent Dublin recusants, at the measures taken by the government to force them to come to church. Brady ed. Smyth ed. The defection of the Anglo-Irish meant that there was no longer any need to downplay doctrinal protestantism, or tread softly in enforcing attendance at church by statutory means for fear of driving away occasional conformists—they had already departed of their own accord.

But the new intellectual awareness of the Roman Catholic Church had left the Church of Ireland trailing theologically in its wake, only able to provide an eighteen-year-old student to argue with an experienced Jesuit professor. The established church had now to formulate a clear reformation policy which both supplied the parishes with committed protestant clergy and provided those clergy with parishioners willing to hear their sermons.

Both proved to be intractable problems. Initially, the protestant leadership came from the former, a pattern which had important implications for the way in which the Church of Ireland developed. He became Archbishop of Armagh in , and then succeeded to the much more important see of Dublin in , to which he added the pivotal civil position of Lord Chancellor from Early in his career, he aligned himself with the puritans—those godly English religious radicals who felt that the Elizabethan church settlement had not gone far or fast enough.

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Where the Bible commanded, protestants had to obey, compromise was ruled out: Remembre the sainge of Elias the prophet, how longe. Frere and C. Douglas eds. If the lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And Ireland, with its desperate need for clergy, and sympathetic bishops, attracted several leading English puritans. Indeed, such was the inclusiveness or desperation of the Church of Ireland, that Cartwright and Goodman were even, incongruously, proposed by Loftus and the Dublin authorities for archbishoprics.

Though the vast majority of the Anglo-Irish rejected protestantism, there was a small number who did not. To take but one example, family alliances were increasingly determined by religion, as the small Anglo-Irish protestant community chose their partners from amongst themselves and the new English. Dublin had long had a free school, supported by the city, and in it was rebuilt with the help of Nicholas Ball, a Catholic merchant.

Educated at Glasgow University, Fullerton had been a special friend of the principal, the Scottish presbyterian leader Andrew Melville, and ended his life as Sir James Fullerton, royal ambassador. But though all were agreed on the need, none could provide the necessary combination of site, money, and staff.

The long delay was important. Edmund Hogan Dublin, Moran Dublin, , Controversy and Religious Identity 27 much-needed preaching ministers. The obvious question, though, was how, and indeed whether, the native differed from the imported variety of protestantism. Politically, such a policy was controversial. Anglo-Irish councillors in Ireland naturally pressed the government to adopt a gentle approach towards their Catholic relatives.

The authorities in England were equally reluctant to use the full rigour of the law to impose conformity, fearing that it would alienate the previously loyal Anglo-Irish and drive them into opposition, even rebellion. But for protestants such as Loftus and Jones, once the Anglo-Irish embraced Counter-Reformation Catholicism, compromise was impossible. Bishop Jones responded with a public attack on toleration from the pulpit. According to a disapproving Archbishop Long of Armagh, Jones asked Whether the magistrate may tolerate with papists?

The friction over this issue came to a head as a result of the Nine Years War. Given the scale of the threat, one might have imagined that all Irish protestants would have understood the necessity for such a concession. Some argued toleration in any form was an evil: Trust them not: they will not they can not be good. If yee profess the truth of Godds religion, the sinceritie of his word, let it appeare, halte no more with idolaters: they doe not halte with you, neither in their profession, neither yet in the effectes thereof. He hath set down a rule which must not be altered by man, but man must obey the same.

But what evidence we have suggests that the Irish protestants associated with Trinity were enthusiastic proponents of the use of coercion against Catholics. Aron did cause a calf to be made and a plague was sent unto the people. The generall doctrine is that idolatrie is never without craftinesse. None could see their idolatrie but God. Mountjoy himself was convinced of the need for a conciliatory, gentle policy towards recusany, persuading rather than forcing them to conform.

And whilst Mountjoy was away in Connacht in late , the remaining members of the Irish administration, led by Loftus, took action. Using all the preachers at their disposal, they distributed them around the Dublin churches and sought to provide them with an audience by threatening with the 12d. He opted clearly and decisively for the latter.

Preaching before the state at Christ Church he gave them his sense of that their toleration of idolatry. And made a full and bold application of that passage in the vision of Ezekiel, cap. William Daniel, fol. He made then this direct application in relation to that connivance of popery viz. Here again we are left with Bernard, supported by Parr, as the sole source for a story about the young Ussher. The success of Henry Fitzsimon in his mission amongst the Anglo-Irish, and the steadfastness of ordinary Catholics such as George Netterville, John and Robert Scurlock, and Christopher Eustace, pointed clearly to the growing strength of the separate Counter-Reformation Catholic Church.

The state church struggled to respond. But the foundation of Trinity and the efforts of fellows such as Ussher suggested that an Irish protestant response—of a rather uncompromising variety—was beginning to emerge. It is to the role of Trinity, and Ussher, in shaping that reponse that we now turn. Ussher, James; Bernard claims that Ussher was a BA by , when he answered the philosophy act at commencements before the earl of Essex, but Essex did not arrive in Ireland until 9 May P.

MS Barlow 13, fol. Ussher signed an acknowledgement in January , apparently as a fellow: PB, a; he was certainly a fellow by October UW, i. Mahaffy, An Epoch in Irish History. The protestant stress on the overwhelming importance of unmerited grace, and the assumption that the normal way that God conveyed it was through preaching, ensured that the sermon lay at the centre of reformed protestant piety.

As early as , Archbishop Loftus of Dublin perhaps not the most impartial observer claimed that the quantity and quality of preaching in the city could be compared to any church in Europe. He gave his weekly divinity lectures in Trinity during term time, and also devoted himself to building up the College library into a research library without parallel in Ireland. In he travelled to England to buy books, beginning a series of regular visits in , , and Tempest, , 63; Bernard, Life, 44—5. Dublin, —3 , ii. MS Rawlinson C , fols.

MS Rawlinson C , p. But it is also the time when Ussher, as professor and dignitary, began himself to shape the Church of Ireland. He came from a markedly puritan background, and, as we have noted, he tended to respond to the tumultuous times in which he was writing. There is also a probability that much of what he says is true: Bernard knew Ussher well, working with or near him in Ireland for fourteen years, and subsequently remaining in contact with him in England, was in possession of many of his manuscripts, and on several occasions in his writings about Ussher makes it clear that he had checked details with the Primate.

Since he was related to John Ussher, that Dublin ur-protestant, and had Henry Ussher as his uncle, his religious allegiance may seem to be a foregone conclusion. Intellectual Formation 37 However, the religious fault-lines of early modern Ireland ran right through the Ussher family too. Little information has survived on the religious views of his father, leaving him like so many of his generation of Dublin Anglo-Irish, hovering vaguely between protestantism and conformity.

But we do know that his mother, Margaret, made a decisive step in the other direction. Obviously, he was shaped by those who taught him, but the nature of that relationship can, of course, be complex—students can react against, as well as identify with their teachers; they can even, horribile dictu, learn nothing whatsoever from them.

As an undergraduate, Ussher would have followed the usual four-year course in Trinity, which, like the English universities, had no formal theological content, focusing upon the trivium—grammar, rhetoric, and logic—and elements of natural philosophy. McDowell and D. Webb, Intellectual Formation 39 timetables, tails off into blank entries after ten months detailing reading in grammar, dialectic, logic, ethics, and rhetoric. He started from the general and proceeded by a series of divisions and distinctions to the more particular.

Though elsewhere in Europe it was used by Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, and even Arminians, in England and Scotland and, as we shall see, Ireland, it was particularly associated with Calvinist or puritan institutions. More complex interpretations discern a relationship between his systematic approach and protestant religious concerns. A subsequent provost, William Chappell, extended the range of Ramism to cover the art of preaching. Ramus produced straightforward textbooks in subjects such as logic, rhetoric, and grammar which were ideal for preparing students for the early years of university.

It was, in short, more about pedagogy than philosophy. MS Rawlinson D , fol. On Saturdays, all tutors read a theology lecture to their students, whilst on Sunday the fellows preached in the College chapel and the College catechist instructed and tested the students in the essentials of Christianity. The key questions, of course, are what kind of theology was Ussher taught, and how did he respond to it?

Given the pivotal role of Trinity in fostering an indigenous protestantism in Ireland, these were important issues. There are two obvious characteristics of the Trinity staff during its early decades: their Calvinism, and their puritanism. The former was unsurprising, given the predominance of Calvinist theology in England and Scottish universities by the end of the sixteenth century. Anonymous notes of sermons preached by Trinity staff in the s provide us with a window into the fare which the early fellows provided for the new students.

It began with a nexus of ministers from the English Midlands. A Warwickshire pastor, active in the synod there, he was imprisoned following the crackdown on presbyterianism in But he clearly could not hope for advancement in England, so the offer of Trinity was welcome and he served as provost till MS Barlow 13 fols.

MS Rawlinson C fols. Brewer and William Bullen eds. London, —73 , iii. Intellectual Formation 43 Chaderton not only as Master of Emmanuel but also as the effectual leader of moderate puritanism. But which is his natural home? Robinson-Hammerstein ed. More and F. Cross eds. Intellectual Formation 45 should be governed? The deep hostility towards presbyterianism of Elizabeth and her successor meant that there was little chance of resuscitating the movement.

The dominant personality in Dublin, the guiding hand behind not only the reformation but also the foundation of Trinity College, was Adam Loftus. Stubbs ed. Loftus, Adam, and Travers, Walter. I forsee that if schisme shall be tollerated or connived at here. But what was its effect? As far as we can judge, Travers steered clear of controversial issues during his four years in Trinity. We have notes on a lengthy series of sermons he preached in the College chapel.

But his focus when reading their works, as with that other presbyterian staple of his library, Thomas Cartwright, was on their anti-Catholic writings, rather than their attacks upon the Church of England. MS Barlow 13, fols. As has been noted, the Church under Loftus had always had a puritan tinge. When on his periodic visits to England, his circle of friends was like a roll call of the godly. Intellectual Formation 49 where he was helping his brother Robert, the patristic scholar and vicar of Leeds, when Ussher in asked him to come to Ireland.

Cooke initially accepted, but in the end withdrew because another minister, John Hill, had already been appointed. Hill too had been suspended from his ministry in Suffolk for refusing to use the sign of the cross in baptism. John Winthrop, the founder of Massachusetts, the epitome of a godly country gentleman, when looking for a college to which he could safely send his son, chose Trinity.

Does this mean that the Irish church, and even Ussher himself, was puritan? From two rather different perspectives it certainly seemed so. One of the constant plaints of Irish Catholics was that the Church of Ireland was not so much protestant as puritan. But the ploy was particularly effective for Irish Catholics, since their accusation struck home in a number of different ways.

Brodley, John and Brodley, Thomas; Mun. Treasurers of Ingland s. Since novelty and foreignness were two of the great problems faced by the Reformation in Ireland, the ability to claim that the protestant clergy were a new offshoot from an already alien sect gave Catholic defenders a powerful polemical argument. William Barlow s. Intellectual Formation 51 crucially, information being fed to him from Ireland by Christopher Hampton. When the latter had an audience with Archbishop Abbot on his extended trip to England in , it did not go well.

Nor was it a word that was very useful in the Irish context, since the Church itself was largely uninterested in distinguishing between puritans and conformists. LaFantasie ed. Merritt ed. Intellectual Formation 53 It was not just that leaders such as Loftus had no interest in or desire to distinguish between puritans and conformists. Even if they had had the will, they lacked the required disciplinary and legislative framework to put it into effect. The contrast between the two Churches was naturally noted by the godly under persecution in England.

Dictum sapienti. There are in the Church of Ireland no long lists of clergy who refused to wear the surplice, or use the cross in baptism, no lengthy proceedings in church courts and negotiations about subscription, suspension, and deprivation, all of which are such a feature of the records of the Church of England during the early seventeenth century. It is, of course, possible that their absence is a product of the losses which Irish archives have sustained over the centuries. Complaints came only from those such as Hampton, who saw the English ecclesiastical polity as normative.

He compiled c. He was a member of an Irish church which did not emphasize the requirement for a narrow liturgical or ceremonial conformity and therefore, unlike the Church of England, did not go out of its way publicly to punish ministers as nonconformists. Challoner is mentioned along with his prebend, Mulhuddart, Money only by his prebend of Wicklow.

Daniel, William; H. MacDonnell ed. Martin, Anthony. For Ussher, the two were part of a seamless protestant whole. Walter Travers had seen universities solely as seminaries for the Church, and that was precisely what Trinity set out to become in the early seventeenth century. How, in other words, is the theology of the newly protestant Irish church and its seminary to be characterized?

Carey and Ute Lotz-Heumann eds. Three aspects of this new religious culture are immediately striking. It was predominantly Calvinist, it was largely imported, and it was a relatively late development. Calvinism is sometimes seen as a tightly disciplined monolith, its doctrine policed by The Institutes as closely as Calvin monitored miscreants in Geneva. In fact, by the early seventeenth century, it had become a broad and varied European movement. Even as late as the s, when Calvinism dominated the English universities, there were still dissident voices arguing that the English articles were capable of a non-Calvinist interpretation.

Cochrane ed. One leading Irish protestant sent his children to be educated in Geneva: Patrick Little ed. Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 59 was riven by disagreements between puritans and conformists about ecclesiology and discipline. In Ireland, though, the pattern was different. To begin with, the period of intellectual development and debate was later and much shorter—it was not till after the foundation of Trinity that indigenous theological discussion began to emerge, with a detailed confession being drawn up in ; as a result, there was no early Lutheran phase of the Irish reformation—it took up the Calvinism of the majority of the contemporary Church of England, but without the dissenting voices.

In addition, the Irish context shaped the way that Calvinism was expressed in two important ways. First the different disciplinary structure and attitudes of the Church of Ireland enabled it to accommodate a far broader range of Calvinist opinion, and to express that Calvinism, as we shall see, in its confession of faith.

For whilst the godly were detested for their attacks upon the established church, they were at the same time welcomed and respected for their leading role in refuting Catholicism. And since there was no tradition in Ireland of indigenous protestant anti-papal polemic, the combined effect of the foundation of Trinity and the arrival of the English puritans was dramatic.

Their main scholarly target was the great Jesuit controversialist Robert Bellarmine. It was not just the fact that he offered a wide-ranging, intellectually sophisticated, and measured rebuttal of protestant theology, it was their timing which made his works so important for the Irish Counter-Reformation. Increasingly in the s, Catholic missionaries were using such works as part of their proselytizing activities in England and in Ireland: the task of Trinity was to try to recover the initiative for the Reformation.

Nor was it just Ussher who tackled Bellarmine. Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 61 the academic disputation. In protestant, just as in Catholic universities, the disputation was at the heart of the curriculum, an essential test which all students had to take if they were to obtain a degree. In a format which had survived since mediaeval times, a short proposition, or quaestio, was argued pro and contra, usually by two students, leading to a conclusion, the solutio, by the master in charge of the disputation.

In brief, it greatly exacerbated differences without being able to resolve them. For, in transferring the debate from university to the public arena one essential element generally got lost—the agreed moderator. As has been seen, Fitzsimon, Rider, and Challoner struggled without success to agree who would serve to determine their disputes. What they were left with were a series of rigorous logical processes leading from their starkly opposed starting point to their equally opposed conclusion, and back again.

Sheils and Diana Wood eds. James Ussher his answere [Douai], Hopwood, Middle Temple Records, 4 vols. London: Butterworth, —5 , i. MS Rawlinson D , on fragment of parchment inside cover, and fols. William Malone mentioned Sibthorp in his Reply to Ussher, and Sibthorp drafted a further retort which survives in manuscript. Elsewhere the marshalling of theological and historical resources to resist the attacks of the Catholic Church was by the late sixteenth century well established, but in Ireland it was new. MS Rawl C , fols. All protestants, of whatever shade, were agreed that their primary aim should be the provision of the Bible in the language of the ordinary people.

As though these two could not stand together; but private readinge of scriptures must of force be denyed, where publicke teachinge of them is permitted. Lehmann ed. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, , li. TCD MS , fols. Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 65 languages. He dedicated the manuscript to James in the forlorn hope that the King, unlike the pope, would welcome different versions of the Bible. William Daniel, skilled in Hebrew and Greek, took up the task whilst a fellow of translating the New Testament into Irish, whilst the College set up a printing press to publish it.

Daniel; N. Daniel, fol. After the Irish Jesuit Christopher Holywood had replied to Whitaker with a defence of the Vulgate in , Ussher completed the hibernicization of the dispute by taking on Bellarmine and Holywood at great length in his theological lectures, using the full authority of protestant, humanist, and patristic scholarship to defend the accuracy and orthodoxy of the Hebrew and Greek texts. All were agreed that its closeness to Jesus, the Apostles, and the words of scripture made the early church pure and relatively uncorrupted.

Disagreements began over which church could rightfully claim to be closest to that early pristine state. Catholics insisted that the papacy was the bulwark of orthodoxy, which had successfully preserved the biblical truth and apostolic tradition handed down from the early church. Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 67 the early centuries. In what pope his days was the true religion overthrown in Rome? Next, I would fain know, how can your religion be true, which disalloweth of many chief articles, which the saints and fathers of that primitive Church of Rome did generally hold to be true?

Ussher most decidedly did not share this view. From an early stage of his academic career he threw himself into patristic study.

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This inspired him to devote eighteen years of his life —19 to reading through the works of the fathers. MSS e. This doctrine. With regard to the worship of images, Ussher wrote off nearly all the scholastics, and dated the beginning of error to early heretics such as the Gnostics and pagan converts to Christianity. The fact that at their deaths their massive patristic compilations remained unpublished may say something about the immense scale of their enterprise, or the lack of scholarly and popular enthusiasm for their project, or, even, its sheer tedium.

But the protestant church seemed like a radical departure, emerging out of nothing in Moreover, by renouncing the Roman Catholic Church as corrupt it deprived itself of its most obvious source of a legitimate descent. Catholics seized upon this disjuncture, portraying the whole Reformation as a dangerous novelty, a recent invention, just like other heretical movements dotted throughout church history which had abandoned the true church. Antwerp, —78 , quoted and transl. Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 71 This was not just a recondite scholarly dispute.

The everyday relevance of these disputes over the legitimacy of the two Churches surfaced most obviously in , when the government sought to impose religious uniformity in the Irish towns. The trail blazer here was Matthias Flacius Illyricus, the organizer of the massive publishing project known as the Magdeburg Centuries. The dilemma for protestants was how to go about establishing their legitimacy, how to prove that they were not heretical bastards. Hillerbrand ed. They could identify themselves with the broader Catholic Church, of which they argued the papal church was a part, and claim descent through that.

This had the advantage of giving a clear line of succession, but the drawback of associating protestants with the very church they were rebelling against: they were faced with the awkward question of how orthodoxy had been preserved within the Roman church and, if it had been, why had it been necessary to separate from her?

Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 73 not a single protestant existed. This is one of the most potent apocalyptic texts in the Bible, which gave rise to the hopes and dreams of the millennium, that thousand-year period of bliss at the end of history, either before or after the return of Christ, which inspired such fevered speculation in the seventeenth century. Into this Ussher wove the parallel story of Antichrist. Since he placed his birth in the early seventh century, this explained the gradual decline of the church from its initial purity. The combination of the freeing of Satan and the rise to power of Antichrist after —the latter reached his height in the papacy of Gregory VII —85 —marked the beginning of the period when the Catholic Church was taken over by the mystery of iniquity.

This was the real test of how radical he was prepared to be: was he willing to rely wholly upon the sects and heretics to preserve the succession of true doctrine? Given the rather bizarre beliefs of some of those he dug up, this was not always straightforward, but when faced with awkward evidence Ussher could always claim that it was tainted by papal bias.

But there was a sense here of genuine historical discovery, as Ussher pieced together the beliefs and persecutions of the Waldensians, one of the few mediaeval heresies to survive till the Reformation. Thus E. As he put it: it could not be called properly the religion of Rome, till the Councell of Trent, which determined many years after our falling off from the see of Rome. The papists ask us, Where was our religion before Luther? For till that time, scarce any point we hold now against them but there were some of their own authours who held it also. Though each of the particular arguments, over the Bible, patristics, and the succession of the true church, had its own dynamic, there was one underlying theme which bound them together and shaped and sharpened the claims of the protestant side—their use of the apocalyptic books and passages of the Bible.

Essentially, protestants believed that they had discovered the key to the way in which God operates in history. Nicholas Bernard , —4. Had the sixth trumpet already sounded? If it had, the implications were terrifying: there was only one to come before the end of the world. This was, of course, the topic which the young Ussher had seized upon in his debate with Fitzsimon. Revelation 17 stated that the great whore of Babylon would sit on the seven mountains—a clear reference to Rome. This suggested two candidates: one was the Roman emperor, but he no longer sat in Rome; the other was the papacy, which did.

As far as he was concerned this simple equation undercut all Catholic defences by establishing the papacy was fundamentally opposed to the truth of Christ. Addressing Irish Catholics, he bluntly argued that your pope is the grand Antichrist, that your Romish church is the whore of Babylon, and that your religion is false and antichristian, and consequently abominable, and to be deserted.

MS Barlow, fol. MS Barlow 13 fol. Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 79 a good church. For she could not have beene a whore, if she had not beene before an honest woman. If it was headed by Antichrist, and dedicated to the destruction of the truth, then surely it was no true church? The key text here was 2 Thessalonians , which stated that Antichrist sat within the temple of God. The process was begun by the historian John Hooker, who explained the Desmond rebellion as a product of the plotting of Antichrist.

The prevalent assumption amongst those who shared the apocalyptic view of history was that the number of true Christians could, at times, be a perilously small minority. It provided an explanation for why the population of Ireland was so reluctant to recognize the manifest superiority of the protestant gospel. Here again 2 Thessalonians 2 provided the proof text.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. D1v: I am grateful to Hiram Morgan for bringing this text to my attention. For do you not hereby perceive the. The Jewish Cabbalists indeed observe that in the 1st v.

And because aleph sign. But such playing and toying with sacred word of God must be far from the thoughts of sober minded Christians. Not only did he teach this to the students at Trinity, he also preached and instructed his protestant acquaintances and parishioners to the same effect.

Worthington ed. Joseph Mede London, , , MS Add C , fol. Nicholas Bernard London, , —2; Ussher did eventually come round to the idea of it being published, accepting that it performed a useful purpose: Bernard, Life, 41—2. I am grateful to Michael McGiffert for encouraging me to reconsider the status of the Body of divinity.

Shaping of Irish Protestant Theology 83 people of the nations, a childe of perdition, and a destroier establishing himselfe by lying miracles and false wonders. All which marks together do agree with none but the Pope of Rome. What is the use of all this doctrine? What further? That there can be no sound agreement betwixt popery and the profession of the gospel, no more then betwixt light and darknesse, falsehood and truth, God and Beliall, and therefore no reconciliation can be devised betwixt them. For if the members of Antichrist shall be destroyed, we cannot in any sort communicate with them in their errors, unlesse we wil bear them company in their destruction also.

Sibthorp responded by insisting that it was a much more broadly held view, and, revealingly, that even if it was puritan, it was none the worse for that. MS Rawlinson C, fol. The latter formed the main, almost the sole focus of research in the new university. Whole sets of lectures were devoted to refuting the chief enemy, Bellarmine. The errors of the Rhemist translation of the Bible were demonstrated. The legitimacy of the protestant line of descent was traced through the mediaeval heretics. To a certain extent, what was taught by Ussher and the Trinity fellows was little different from that which students at any university in England would have encountered.

But though the content was often similar, it was subtly altered by its new Irish context. The fact that protestants were in a minority in Ireland also inevitably coloured the way in which they used and related to anti-Catholic theology, and appropriated Calvinism. Even more tellingly, their Irish experience of rebellion and violence made the apocalyptic interpretation of recent history terrifyingly real.

It gave them a salient and unyielding sense of identity which marked them off—indeed, which required them to rigidly distinguish themselves—from their Catholic neighbours. In England, the Thirty-Nine Articles formed the centrepiece to efforts to establish a uniformity of belief, with ministers being required to make a formal subscription of assent.

But Ireland lacked such a sophisticated statement, or the means of enforcement. There was, it is true, the twelve articles of , derived from the brief stop-gap English confession of probably composed by Archbishop Parker. The obvious solution was simply to adopt the Thirty-Nine Articles as the Irish confession, ensuring that the two Churches remained in step.

This, however, was not the option chosen: instead, it was decided to draw up a separate Irish confession of faith. The reasons behind this decision are unclear—indeed, as will be seen, we know very little at all about the background to the new Irish articles. To begin with, the Church of Ireland was not the Church of England—it faced markedly different challenges to its English sister, which naturally would have led some to prefer a separate confession. Catechism What does this commandment require?

That we keep holy the Sabbath day, by resting from the ordinary businesses of this life, and bestowing that leisure upon the exercises of religion, both publike and private. Some of the similarities could be explained by the fact that the catechism, like the confession, is heavily dependent upon the Bible, and they often share the same scriptural text. The general issue is where the articles place the Church of Ireland in the wider theological and ecclesiological context of Britain, Ireland, and Europe. Or, more narrowly, to what extent does the Irish confession depart from the Thirty-Nine Articles?

Peter Heylyn had no doubts: he set out to prove that the articles, composed by Ussher, were part of the puritan plot to abandon the English confession and impose extreme Calvinism on the Church of Ireland: For Calvinism by degrees had taken such deep root amongst them, that at the last it was received and countenanced as the only doctrine which was to be defended in the Church of Ireland. For, not contented with the articles of the Church of England, they were resolved to frame a confession of their own; the drawing up whereof was referred to Dr.

By whom the book was so contrived, that all the sabbatarian and Calvinian rigors were declared therein to be the doctrines of that church. Besides which deviations from the doctrine of the Church of England. Ussher and the Irish Articles of 89 censuring any of those who either carelesly or maliciously do infringe the same. The pope made antichrist, according to the like determination of the French Hugonots at Gappe in Daulphine.

But the matter is not quite as clear-cut as it seems. To begin with, the categories used to characterize Ussher and the articles give cause for concern. Heylyn and Elrington assume that the heritage of the Churches of England and Ireland was, and had always been, a via media Anglicanism which was innately hostile to Calvinism.

Ussher and the Church of England. To place Ussher, the Church of Ireland, and the Irish articles more accurately requires both a subtler taxonomy and a closer analysis of the confession. Killen, The Ecclesiastical History of Ireland. From the Earliest Period to the Present Times, 2 vols. London, , i, app. I have followed Knox in omitting from the comparison EA 35 on the Homilies, though here too, given puritan hostility to the Homilies as encouraging the use of reading ministers, its omission from the IA may not pace Knox be wholly innocent.

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What is clear, though, is that Ussher, or the convocation, or both, made a conscious decision to accommodate puritan concerns—or, more broadly, to depart from the Thirty-Nine Articles in order to lessen the gap between the Irish church and the non-episcopal European protestant churches. The end result of these alterations is that, whereas the English articles allude to bishops three times, the only reference which the Irish confession retains is a single disparaging comment on the Bishop of Rome.

And, of course, as far as puritans were concerned, this was the only mention of bishops that they would have wanted in a confession. This is not to say that the Church of Ireland did not use the threefold ministry, nor that it was not episcopalian: it did, and it was content to remain so. Changes were also made to the articles dealing with the nature and authority of the church. Henderson and James Bulloch ed. And because this church consisteth of all those, and those alone, which are elected by God unto salvation, and regenerated by the power of his spirit, the number of whom is known only unto God himself; therefore it is called Catholic or universal, and the invisible church.

Screech Leiden: Brill, , pp. Ussher and the Irish Articles of 93 Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.

Instead, they preferred the much stricter requirement that all ceremonies had to be positively endorsed and enjoined by the Bible. First, the omission of the second paragraph can only have been a concession to godly concerns. Whilst following the Church of England in asserting its right to change ceremonies, by doing so the Church of Ireland was also differentiating itself from its sister church and asserting its independence.

For, as Ussher was later to insist, as a particular church, the Church of Ireland could, if it wished, choose to differ in its ceremonies from the Church of England. For the most part, the English anti-Catholic articles were included verbatim, but strengthened by the addition of further material. The reason for doing this was probably little different from the purpose of the original framers of the Lambeth articles. Given the dominance of Calvinism in the early-seventeenth-century Church of Ireland, it was natural that Ussher and the convocation should wish to eliminate from the Irish confession the ambiguities of the English.

And, in a marked departure from the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Irish church committed itself to assurance of salvation for the true believer, and the perseverance of the regenerate. Convocation reinforced the English articles in other respects as well. Ussher and the Irish Articles of 95 have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again and amend our lives. Here again, the articles expanded on , seven articles being transformed into sixteen.

Both work within what is broadly a Calvinist theology, but the Irish confession spelled out the nature of the sacrament more explicitly.

The removal of all reference to regeneration was a startling change. The EA linked the sign to the possibility of actual regeneration—the inner renewal of the individual by the Holy Spirit—opening up a debate within the Church of England which divided not only Laudians and Calvinists, but also high and low churchmen, and reached its climax in the Gorham case in the nineteenth century. But the IA foreclosed this debate in a decisive manner, insisting that baptism was merely a seal, a sign of admission into the Church, dedicating the Christian to the service of God under the new covenant.

But where Calvin had focused upon a single covenant, later reformed scholars developed a more complex theology, based on two. First there was the covenant of works or of the law, which promised man eternal life if he obeyed the commandments. Moore ed. Gorham, against the Bishop of Exeter London, , Ussher and the Irish Articles of 97 law. Some things are clear, though. Others were a product of the concerns of both godly and moderate protestants. For there were no canons associated with the Irish confession, and therefore no way of making clergy subscribe to the articles, a marked contrast to the situation in England where, not only was the confession much less accommodating to those of a godly disposition, it was also enforced with much greater rigour.

Did Ussher, as Heylyn and Elrington asserted, detach the Church of Ireland from its English sister and subvert it by introducing Calvinism, or were the changes and additions, as Knox argues, much less dramatic? There is, it is true, a case to be made that many of the differences between the two confessions are a product not of serious theological disagreements, but, rather, of two factors, the differing Irish context, and the passage of time.

Thus IA 4 was designed to recognize the fact that the Church of Ireland operated in a country where there were two vernaculars. MS Cherry 23, fols. Ussher and the Irish Articles of 99 had grown up in the intervening period. This was most obvious in the case of the approach to Catholicism, where the lengthier and more aggressive tone of the Irish articles can be seen as a natural product of the bitter struggles in both Ireland and England which followed the excommunication of Elizabeth in To that extent, it did not separate the two Churches. Here we return to the importance of confessions in early modern Europe.

What was radical about the Irish articles was the very fact that they were a national confession, that many of the commonplaces of early-seventeenth-century Calvinism and puritanism—fasts, sabbatarianism, predestination, perseverance—had been given a new and authoritative status which they never gained in England.

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Even though Whitgift had endorsed them, he found, to his embarrassment, that the Queen refused to accept them or give them any authority. Yet the Irish church made them articles of faith. Where EA 17 on predestination left considerable scope for interpretation, as became abundantly evident over the following centuries as the Church of England swung vertiginously from Calvinism to Arminianism, the Irish confession barred such future reinterpretation, and constituted a clear challenge to English latitude.

Hence there was the general Calvinist satisfaction at IA 38, which enshrined the crucial principle of perseverance—the idea that, once granted grace, you would persevere to salvation. But there is a puzzling aspect to this development. Both Elizabeth and James had refused requests to change the English articles: why, then, did the King allow the Irish church to draw up a new confession? It is impossible to imagine that the Church of England would even have conceived of the idea of composing fresh articles, let alone have secured their passage through convocation, without royal involvement.

Indeed, perhaps the strongest evidence in favour of the idea that Chichester acted on delegated authority from James, and that the articles were not referred to England for approval, is the overpowering theological curiosity of James himself. Had he been aware of the Irish articles he would have been incapable of refraining from intervening and interfering in the process of drafting. The Irish articles were thus a product of the Church of Ireland, and provide us with a revealing picture of the views and theological preferences of that Church and its leading theologian, James Ussher.

Just as with the tension between Ussher the puritan and Ussher the conformist, which bedevilled interpretation of the impact of his Trinity education, so too it would be misleading to view the Irish articles in terms of a false dichotomy between puritan and Anglican, or the Church of England and the Church of Ireland. The reality of the early-seventeenth-century Church of Ireland was much more nuanced and far less polarized. The Irish articles united all Irish protestants under the banner of a second-generation Calvinist confession. In other words, for all his polemical hostility, Heylyn was very largely right in his evaluation of the articles: they established Calvinism as the doctrinal orthodoxy of the Irish church.

Surprisingly, he hardly ever refers to the latter in either his printed works or manuscript notebooks. Rather, when seeking to reinforce doctrinal points, he preferred to refer to the English confession. Ussher insisted that IA 56 was thoroughly in harmony with the English articles on this issue, since the IA was derived from the homilies which were in turn endorsed by the articles. They also linked the Church of Ireland closely to the Church of England, both to its confession and to its prevailing theological consensus in But where the Thirty-Nine Articles were tentative and open to interpretation, the Irish confession was much fuller and sought to pin down the doctrine of the Irish church as unequivocally reformed, even European, in its outlook.

Ussher and the Irish Articles of declarative and that people were not bound to confess to any man—appeared much more radical by the s as the Laudians moved well beyond the earlier consensus. He had played the leading role in domesticating Calvinism and creating an indigenous Irish protestant theology.

And he had begun to acquire an extensive network of friends and contacts amongst the protestant clergy and laity, not just in Ireland but also in England, where he moved with ease amongst not only the godly community, but amidst the scholarly elite, men such as Sir Robert Cotton, William Camden, Henry Briggs, John Selden, and Sir Henry Spelman.

First, as an insight into the mind of a middle ranking English protestant in Ireland - it enables us to get inside Parr Lane's mindset, and see how he views the Irish, Catholicism, and government policy. Second, it contains clear echoes of Edmund Spencer's 'View': given that this work was still in manuscript at the time, it shows that it was circulating amongst officials in Ireland in the early seventeenth century.

British Studies. The theology and politics of two Irish ecclesiastics of the seventeenth century more. Ecclesiastical History. The period around the close of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries are now thought to have been crucial in deciding the religious allegiance of Ireland, This paper examines the policies of the Irish and British The period around the close of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries are now thought to have been crucial in deciding the religious allegiance of Ireland, This paper examines the policies of the Irish and British governments towards the enforcement of religious uniformity during the first thirty years of the seventeenth century.

It shows how, following the defeat of Hugh O'Neill, the authorities in Dublin thought that there was an opportunity to force the Catholic population to conform, and break the power of the Catholic church. The King and his ministers in England, however, were reluctant to rick the mass alienation and civil unrest that this might cause, and counselled caution.

In times of official hostility towards Catholics, as following the Gunpowder Plot, the Irish authorities were given free rein to impose conformity, but when James wanted to placate foreign Catholic powers, as during his pursuit of a Spanish marriage for his son Charles, the Dublin government was instructed to favour persuasion and gentler methods. As a result, the penal laws were sometimes used to try to force Catholics to conform, sometimes as a means of control or of raising revenue.

The unanswerable question remains: had conformity been imposed with the rigour demanded by the Dublin authorities, would it have had a chance of succeeding in turning Ireland into a Protestant country? Location: Elizabethanne Boran and Crawford Gribben ed. Tracing the students of Trinity College Dublin founded during the University's first five decades is difficult because no matriculation records survive until The standard list of students compiled by Burtchaell and The standard list of students compiled by Burtchaell and Sadleir, published in , attempts to recover the names of the early students from other College and official records of the time, and does a reasonable job.

Dependent or Independent: the Church of Ireland and its colonial context, more.

James Ussher and the Reduction of Episcopacy

The Church of Ireland, was in many ways a clone of the Church of England. And many And many English politicians and clergy thought of the Church of Ireland as wholly dependent on the Church of England. But for those clergy who were born in Ireland, or who made their careers there, there was an alternative view which saw the Irish church as a separate, sister church to the Church of England. Here Archbishop James Ussher, the dominant protestant intellectual force in early-modern Ireland, provided an important sense of independent identity for the Church of Ireland.

He traced its origins back to Patrick, and insisted that it was separate from the Church of England, as in when he refused to adopt the English Canons verbatim, but insisted on drafting separate Irish canons. The result is that the Church of Ireland was Janus-like, looking both to England and to Ireland, relying on the protection of the English monarch and state in times of difficulty, but proclaiming its sturdy independence in better times. Reforming the holy isle: Parr Lane and the conversion of the Irish more.

This takes a little know poem written in execrable verse by an English soldier resident in Ireland, Parr Lane, and places it in the wider contexts of early-modern English attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish, and of official policy This takes a little know poem written in execrable verse by an English soldier resident in Ireland, Parr Lane, and places it in the wider contexts of early-modern English attitudes towards Ireland and the Irish, and of official policy towards Roman Catholicism.

One of the earliest Irish sources to use Edmund Spenser's View, Parr Lane's poem argues that the settlers in Ireland had compromised too much with the native Irish and that the authorities there needed to take a much firmer stance towards Roman Catholicism if the colony was to be secure. James Ussher and the creation of an Irish Protestant identity more. As the dominant intellectual figure in the early Irish protestant church, James Ussher played a key role in defining its sense of identity in Ireland. He created an 'origin myth' for the Church of Ireland,, giving it historical He created an 'origin myth' for the Church of Ireland,, giving it historical legitimacy by tracing its origins back to St Patrick, and his apocalyptic view of the Pope as Antichrist shaped Irish protestant anti-Catholicism for centuries to come.

This chapter from an edited volume on the history of the Church of Ireland, surveys the ways in which its historiography has been shaped over the centuries since the reformation. The church of Ireland since the reformation. Dublin, Lilliput Press , pp The Reformation in Kilmore before more. Kilmore, a northern Irish diocese covering Cavan and Leitrim, is an interesting case study for the Irish Reformation. Included in Ulster plantation, with a succession of English bishops, it broke the colonial mould with the appointment Included in Ulster plantation, with a succession of English bishops, it broke the colonial mould with the appointment in of William Bedell , a culturally sensitive, eirenic Englishman who took the trouble to learn Irish and encourage the development of an indigenous protestantism.

Location: lin, Irish Academic Press: Publication Name: Ray Gillespie ed.

Bibliography - Oxford Scholarship

Martyrdom, history and memory in early-modern Ireland more. Martyrdom - political and religious - plays a powerful role in Irish history and identity. This article explores the period from to when the Catholic church recorded a dramatic increase in the number of martyrs amongst its This article explores the period from to when the Catholic church recorded a dramatic increase in the number of martyrs amongst its clergy and laity.

It shows how these martyrs were a product of the violent relations between the English authorities and the Irish Catholic population, and examines the informal process by which their sufferings and deaths were recorded and circulated in Ireland and abroad. It also looks at the ways in which memory and history were shaped and even invented, as a discourse of Catholic martyrdom was created which resonated down the centuries of Irish history. High or low? Writing the Irish Reformation in the early nineteenth century more.

Todd, read J. James Ussher was a scholar of remarkable breadth and depth. So much so that after his death, political and religious factions competed to seek his posthumous endorsement. The process of manipulating his memory was begun by The process of manipulating his memory was begun by his former chaplain, Nicholas Bernard, who in the years immediately following his death, published a series of works which adapted Ussher's scholarship to his, and his times' needs.

Irish History , Early modern religious history a Irish religious history. Past but still present: Edmund Borlase, Richard Parr and the reshaping of Irish history for English audiences in the more. More Info: in Brian MacCuarta ed. Sectarianism is generally thought of as an integral part of Irish history, and there is, indeed, little doubt that religious hatred has been a prominent feature of post reformation Irish history. This introductory chapter examines the This introductory chapter examines the origins of Irish sectarianism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the different ways in which it has been analysed, and also seeks to balance the focus upon violence and religious hatred by pointing out that there were significant periods in Irish history when the two religious communities managed to live together relatively peacefully.

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