Lancelot Andrewes, 1555-1626

By Paul A. Welsby | Go to book overview

7
Courtier and Preacher

"There is an admirable epistle written by Petrus Blesensis, in the name of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to P. Alexander III, in the defence of the bishops of Ely, Winchester, and Norwich, that attended the court upon service of the king. 'It is no new thing for bishops to be counsellors to princes,' saith he; 'their wisdom and piety, that enables them for a bishopric, proclaims them fit instruments to promote the public tranquillity of the commonwealth: they know how to comply with oppressed people, to advance designs of peace and public security; it is their office to instruct the king to righteousness, by their sanctity to be a rule to the court, and to diffuse their exemplary piety over the body of the kingdom, to mix influences of religion with designs of state, to make them have as much of the dove as of the serpent."

JEREMY TAYLOR, Episcopacy Asserted, Sec. 49

THERE IS a certain incongruity in the relationship between Andrewes and the King, for James I was in almost all respects utterly unlike the bishop. The King's character was weak and pliant, his personal habits were coarse, his conceit was unbounded, he was infatuated with favourites, he was lavish in expenditure, and his abiding passion was hunting.1 "The wisest fool in Christendom", he was wise in small matters, but unbelievably foolish in weightier affairs. His gravest weakness was the absence of that instinct for understanding the thoughts and feelings of his subjects. The Court which revolved round this axis was extravagant, disorderly, frivolous, immoral, and not seldom inebriated. It would have seemed that no sphere could have been more unattractive or uncongenial for such a man as Andrewes. Moreover, James tended to be Calvinist in theology and Andrewes was not.

The bond between the King and the bishop was a result of three causes. In the first place Andrewes was regarded as a brilliant

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1
For the most recent assessment of the character of James I and his Court, see D. Harris Willson, King James VI and I ( 1956).

-188-

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Lancelot Andrewes, 1555-1626
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • Part I 1
  • 1 - The Man in the Making 3
  • 2 - Widening Horizons 38
  • 3 - Dean of Westminster 73
  • Part II 91
  • 4 - A Bishop in the Church"" 93
  • 5 - The Roman Controvery 135
  • 6 - The Foreign Reformed Churches 160
  • 7 - Courtier and Preacher 188
  • 8 - Causes, as Well Ecclesiastical as Temporal"" 219
  • Part III 251
  • 9 - Last Days 253
  • 10 - What Manner of Man?"" 262
  • Bibliography 276
  • Index of Authors Cited 289
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