division between Presbyterians and Independents. The Covenant was furthermore one of the reasons for the failure to achieve settlement in the aftermath of War as the King refused to agree to it.]
The determination of both King and Covenanters led to the outbreak of the Bishops' Wars in 1639 and 1640. This can be seen as the beginning of the 'British Civil Wars'. Whether this idea of a British dimension to the mid-century era of civil war that disrupted the Stuart monarchy, the Bishops' Wars did at least have significant political implications for England. In order to continue the war Charles called the Short Parliament; when the King faced defeat against the Scots once more he was forced to call the Long Parliament. The 'Laudian' policy for the Church of England with its Arminian leanings was deeply offensive to many of the traditional Calvinist and Puritan subjects. Arminianism was condemned earlier in the century by the Synod of Dort and in England was feared as 'popish'. The idea of the Antichrist force invading, despoiling, desecrating and corrupting the 'true' Protestant Church of England was very real for many pious English Protestants. Arminianism was interpreted by many in this manner.
Why was Arminianism so offensive? Firstly Arminianism was a much more visual and ceremonial or ritual approach to worship than Calvinism . Laud followed this in emphasising the Holy Communion, liturgy, the dress and ritual of the service. The Archbishop also liked to call his clergymen 'priests'. This clashed with the Calvinist and Puritan emphasis on the individuality of Protestantism - viz. the individual's cultivation of a personal relationship or closeness to God through study of the Bible and inner contemplation. The pre-eminence of the clergy had been attacked by the Protestant Reformation with the doctrine of 'sola fide', 'by faith alone', and the 'priesthood of all believers'. Laud's greater emphasis on the authority of the bishops in particular and the spiritual elevation of the clergy offended Protestants who had grown up to believe there was no spiritual hierarchy before God. Puritan millenarianism reacted defensively to Laudian innovation in the Church.
[3. Calvinism: The religious movement based on the ideas and writings of Jean Calvin. Calvinism was a strict form of Protestantism that rapidly spread across Europe from its base in Geneva. Calvinists were characterised by their belief in the doctrine of Double Predestination - that God chose who were to be 'elect' or 'saintly' (i.e. chosen to go to heaven) and those who were damned, the 'reprobate'. Calvinists asserted that God had made these decisions at the start of time and there was nothing Man's own conduct during his life could change. However, this doctrine caused social order problems - witness the licentiousness of the Ranters in England during the seventeenth century who misapplied the doctrine to justify they could do nothing wrong as they were elect. The belief of being saintly proved dangerous to social and political order when left to individual definition. The principles of government that defined the Calvinist Church were taken from the Bible's description of the early Church. These ideas were taken by Presbyterians in England (though in a modified form) and Scotland. Calvinists also believed in Divine Calling, or Vocation, which was a duty of the believer to satisfy God's will. In everyday life this could mean being devout and pious in following the moral and spiritual code of the Church, or being industrious in work (as argued by Max Weber). On a higher level this could entail active involvement in the political sphere to remove tyrannical government that threatened the 'true church' - as the looking towards Providence of Cromwell and the New Model Army demonstrates. The Fifth Monarchists believed it was their 'calling' to erect a kingdom of the saints to prepare England for the Second Coming of Christ. By the later sixteenth century Calvinism was feared by many monarchs as under the control of Calvin's successor Theodore Beza, it proved receptive to ideas about when it is justifiable to remove a king or ruler. This early resistance theory proved an important influence on the justification for the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649 e.g. John Milton, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, 1649.]
In describing the attack of the Long Parliament on Charles' arbitrary government of the Church and State, one of the most pre-eminent scholars of the Civil War, John Morrill, stresses that 'religious issues as being those which made civil war happen'.
It is now clear that there was a lack of long-term conflict over constitutional issues in England. Parliament did not have any 'programme' or agenda to significantly alter the constitutional position at the expense of the Crown. The intentions of MPs throughout he build-up to the Civil War and the search for settlement
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|