Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Andrewes, Lancelot

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ANDREWES, LANCELOT (1555–1626), bishop of Winchester, was born in the parish of All Hallows, Barking. His father was a merchant, and rose to be master of Trinity House. Lancelot was intended for the same line of life, but his two schoolmasters, Mr. Ward, at the Coopers' Free Grammar School in Ratcliffe, and Mr. Mulcaster, of Merchant Taylors', observing the extraordinary promise of their scholar, persuaded his parents to give him a learned education. From Merchant Taylors' he proceeded to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, as one of Dr. Watts's scholars. In 1576 he was elected fellow of Pembroke, and in the same year was nominated by Dr. Hugh Price to a fellowship at the newly-founded college of Jesus, Oxford. Andrewes continued to reside at Cambridge, and, having received holy orders in 1580, was appointed catechist at Pembroke. His ‘catechistical lectures,’ delivered every Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., were attended and carefully noted down by all who made any pretensions to the study of divinity; he was also much resorted to as a casuist. He was next persuaded by the Earl of Huntingdon, president of the North, to attend him thither as chaplain; and there ‘by preaching and conference he brought over many recusants, priests as well as laity, to the protestant religion’ (Isaacson). In 1589, through the instrumentality of Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's minister, he obtained the living of St. Giles's, Cripplegate; and shortly afterwards he was appointed to ‘a prebend residentiary's place in St. Paul's,’ and was chosen master of Pembroke Hall. He held the mastership till 1605, and changed a deficit in the college revenues to a surplus. At St. Giles's he preached constantly, and made his often-quoted remark that ‘when he preached twice he prated once;’ at St. Paul's he lectured three times every week during term time. From 1589 to 1609 he was also prebendary of Southwell. His work and ascetic mode of life injured his health, and for a while his life was despaired of; but he recovered, and was made chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, and chaplain in ordinary to the queen. During Elizabeth's reign he refused two bishoprics (Salisbury and Ely), because the offer in each case was coupled with the condition that he should consent to the alienation of part of the revenues of the see; but shortly before her death (1597–8) he accepted first a stall, and then (1601) the deanery at Westminster. Under King James I Andrewes's rise was rapid. In 1605 he was persuaded with some difficulty to accept the bishopric of Chichester, and was made in the same year king's almoner; in 1609 he was translated to Ely, and in 1619 to Winchester, ‘whence,’ says Bishop Buckeridge, ‘God translated him to heaven,’ not, however, before he had narrowly escaped another translation on earth, to the primacy of all England. In 1619 he was also made dean of the Chapel Royal; and he was a privy councillor both for England (1609) and for Scotland (1617). He took part in the Hampton Court conference (1603–4), where his vast patristic learning was of service; his name stands first in the list of divines who were appointed (1607) to make our ‘authorised version’ of the Bible, being one of the Westminster ten whose province was to translate the Pentateuch and the historical books from Joshua to 1 Chronicles; and when King James set up episcopacy in Scotland it was Andrewes who suggested, in vain, that the prelates elect ought to be ordained priests before they were made bishops. Though Andrewes was so great a favourite at three successive courts, and held, on religious grounds, the highest views of the regal power, he was no flatterer. The following anecdote has been often told: ‘My lords,’ said King James to the bishops, Neale of Durham and Andrewes of Winchester, as they stood behind his chair at dinner, ‘cannot I take my subjects' money when I want it without all this formality in parliament?’ ‘God forbid, sir, but you should,’ said Bishop Neale; ‘you are the breath of our nostrils.’ Andrewes replied (with perfect truth, for he systematically avoided mixing himself up with politics) that he had ‘no skill in parliamentary cases;’ but being pressed, ‘Then, sir,’ said he, ‘I think it lawful for you to take my brother Neale's money, because he offers it’ (WALLER). It is said that the awe of Andrewes's presence was wont to restrain King James from that unseemly levity in which he was rather too prone to indulge. Andrewes only went to court to deliver his divine Master's message, and so, ‘when through weakness he was unable to preach,’ Bishop Buckeridge tells us, ‘he began to go little to the court.’ Though he was so often preferred, Andrewes was quite indifferent about preferment; others were bitterly disappointed when he was not advanced to the primacy, but he himself never was; and so far from showing any resentment against Abbot, who was preferred before him, he proved himself the kindest friend of the unfortunate archbishop when he fell under the charge of casual homicide. Truth, however, compels us to add that in some points Andrewes was not in advance of his age. It is sad to think that he was probably one of the bishops who sanctioned the burning of the Arian, Leggat; and that he voted for the divorce of Essex. He died 26 Sept. 1626.

Andrewes was eminent in three capacities: (1) As a prelate. Few men have more happily combined the various qualities which contribute to make a great prelate than Andrewes. His principles were most distinct and definite, and from these principles he never swerved. He was a thorough English churchman, as far removed from Romanism on the one hand, as from puritanism on the other. He never interfered in public affairs, either as a privy councillor or in any other capacity, except when the spiritual interests of the church seemed to him to be at stake; and then, in spite of his constitutional modesty, he spoke out boldly and to the point. His learning was unequalled. From his childhood to his death he was an indefatigable student; his multifarious business as a public man was never allowed to interfere with his studies. He made a rule of not being interrupted, except for public or private prayer, before dinner-time (12 o'clock); when he was intruded upon, he would say ‘he was afraid he was no true scholar who came to see him before noon.’ The result was that he made himself master of fifteen languages, if not more, while his knowledge of patristic theology was quite unrivalled. ‘The world,’ writes Fuller, ‘wanted learning to know how learned this man was, so skilled in all (especially oriental) languages, that some conceive he might (if then living) almost have served as an interpreter general at the confusion of tongues.’ Yet he was eminent for his social qualities; he had a guileless simplicity both of manner and mind, an unaffected modesty, and a rare sense of humour. His munificence was so great that the very multitude of his benefactions renders it impossible to enumerate them here. Bishop Buckeridge (who knew him perhaps better than any man) seems to have thought that this was the most prominent feature in his character; for he took for the text of his funeral sermon Heb. xiii. 16 (‘To do good and to distribute forget not,’ &c.), and dwelt largely on Andrewes's fulfilment of this precept. Among Andrewes's other merits as a prelate must be noticed his extreme conscientiousness in the distribution of patronage. Simony was one of the three vices (the other two were usury and sacrilege) which he specially abhorred, and he frequently involved himself in trouble and expense rather than institute to livings men whom he thought to be morally liable to the charge. Though he strove to show his gratitude to the friends of his youth, notably to Ward, Mulcaster, and Watts, who had helped him in his education, by seeking out their worthy relations for promotion, he never allowed favouritism or nepotism to influence him; he always strove to find the fittest man for the post which he had to fill, often to the great surprise of the recipient; hence many men, who were then or afterwards eminent, owed more or less to his discernment. He was the earliest patron and friend of Matthew Wren, subsequently the famous bishop of Norwich and of Ely, and one of the earliest who offered to befriend John Cosin, the still more famous bishop of Durham. William Laud, Meric Casaubon ‘for his own and his father's merits,’ Peter Blois, one of his fellow-translators of the Bible, Nicholas Fuller, ‘the most admired critic of his time,’ and many others of more or less note were indebted to him. Finally, a great prelate, while firm as a rock in his own convictions, must be large-hearted and tolerant of those who differ from him. And this was Andrewes's character. Take, as an instance, his reply to Du Moulin on episcopacy, remembering that the writer was himself a very decidedly high churchman: ‘Though our government be by divine right, it follows not either that there is no salvation, or that a church cannot stand without it; he must needs be made of iron and hard-hearted that denies them salvation. We are not made of that metal,’ and so forth. Or take his attitude in regard to worship. Personally he valued a high ritual, and therefore, both as bishop of Ely and as bishop of Winchester, he had his private chapels adorned with what Prynne calls ‘popish furniture;’ ‘the altar 11/4 yards high, and a cushion, two candlesticks with tapers, the daily furniture for the altar; a cushion for the service-book, silver and gilt canister for the wafers, like a wicker-basket, and lined with cambric lace; the tonne (flagon) upon a cradle, the chalice covered with a linen napkin (called the aire) on a credence; a little boate out of which the frankincense is poured, a tricanale for the water of mixture; the faldstory, whereat they kneel to read the litany’—and much more which the reader will find in ‘Canterburie's Doome,’ not only described, but ‘expressed to the life in a copper-piece.’ Prynne of course records it all with disgust, but on others it made a very different impression. ‘His chapel,’ writes his earliest biographer, ‘was so devoutly and reverently adorned, and God served there with so holy and reverend behaviour, that the souls of many that came thither were very much elevated; yea, some that had bin there desired to end their dayes in the Bishop of Elye's chappell.’ But, much as Andrewes valued such a service, he never forced it on others; he was ‘content with the enjoying without the enjoining’ (Fuller). His intimacy with, and kindness to, distinguished foreigners, some of whom held very different views from his own (Du Moulin, the Casaubons, Cluverius, Vossius, Grotius, and Erpinius), is another proof of his large-heartedness. Isaac Casaubon, in his ‘Ephemerides,’ constantly refers to the wonderful piety and learning of the (then) Bishop of Ely, and his kindness towards himself. Perhaps one must not lay too much stress on the fact that two poets, one an extreme high churchman, Richard Crashaw, the other a puritan, John Milton, celebrated him in verse; for Milton's elegy was written when the poet was only seventeen, and when his puritanism was not yet developed; but we may note that it was a puritan publisher (Michael Sparke) who said that ‘to name him was enough praise.’ The fact also that Bacon consulted him frequently about his philosophical works is a proof of the width of Andrewes's sympathies.

(2) As a preacher, Andrewes was generally held to be the very ‘stella prædicantium,’ an ‘angel in the pulpit.’ But in the later days of Charles II a reaction set in against the old style of sermons with their Greek and Latin quotations, plays upon words, and minute analyses of the text. Andrewes was rightly held to be the most distinguished representative of the old style, as Tillotson was of the new; hence praise of the latter is frequently combined with depreciation of the former. This depreciation has continued in some quarters to the present day, but in others there is a growing disposition to do justice to the most admired preacher in the palmiest days of English literature. His sermons are, no doubt, more full of word-play than the taste of later days approves of; but we can well believe that his ‘verbal conceits’ would tend to impress the truths he wished to convey more deeply upon his hearers. To take an instance: in one of his grandest sermons, on the ‘Nativity,’ he says: ‘If this child be Immanuel, God with us, then without this child, this Immanuel, we be without God. “Without Him in this world,” saith the apostle, and if without Him in this, without Him in the next; and if withwithout Him then, if itnot be Immanu-el, it will be Immanu-hell. What with Him? Why if we have Him we need no more; Immanu-el and Immanu-all’ (i. 145). Divest this of the word-play, and the idea is: ‘If God be not with us, hell will be with us; if God be with us, all will be with us,’ surely no mere ‘frigid conceit.’ Greek and Latin quotations are not nearly so numerous in Andrewes's sermons as in those of Jeremy Taylor and many other admired preachers of the seventeenth century. There is, indeed, a certain jerkiness of style in the sermons which renders them far less impressive to read than the flowing periods of Jeremy Taylor; but in their extraordinary wealth of matter they are unrivalled. And we must remember that, after all, we have only Andrewes the sermon-writer, not Andrewes the preacher. There is no doubt that his sermons gained immensely by the charm of his delivery. This it was which specially fascinated Queen Elizabeth; this is hinted at by the first editors of the sermons, Laud and Buckeridge, in their dedication to King Charles: ‘Though they could not live with all the elegancy which they had upon his tongue, yet you were graciously pleased to think a paper-life better than none.’ This is characteristically referred to by Fuller: ‘Such plagiaries who have stolen his sermons could never steal his preaching.’ And apart from their intrinsic merit there is an historical interest about these sermons which is perhaps unique. Of what other preacher can it be said, as it has been rightly said about Andrewes by his latest successor at Ely?—‘He stood forth for a quarter of a century the great doctor of the Anglican church. For seventeen years it was he who every Christmas day expounded to the court of England the doctrine of the Incarnation, for eighteen on Easter day that of the Resurrection, for fifteen on Whitsunday that of the Holy Spirit, for fourteen in Lent that of self-denial.’

(3) As a writer. Andrewes published but little in his lifetime, though his works now fill eight 8vo volumes in the ‘Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology.’ His most important work was the ‘Tortura Torti.’ After the Gunpowder plot a fresh oath of allegiance was imposed, which was taken by most of the Romanists in England until it was condemned by two papal briefs. Then King James himself wrote an apology for the oath, and was answered by the famous controversialist, Cardinal Bellarmine, under the pseudonym of ‘Matthæus Tortus,’ the name of his almoner. Hence the racy title of Andrewes's reply, ‘Tortura Torti’ (1609). It was written in Latin, and proves that Andrewes was a good Latin scholar, as well as a decided anti-Romanist, and a most learned and dexterous controversialist. Among others who spoke highly of the work was Isaac Casaubon (Ephemerides, p. 793). The ‘Tortura Torti’ was followed by another work also in defence of King James, who had again descended into the arena to treat more fully of the new oath. Bellarmine now threw off the mask, and attacked the king in his own name; and Andrewes, in reply, wrote a ‘Responsio ad Apologiam Cardinalis Bellarmini.’ To this he afterwards added a small tract, entitled ‘Determinatio Theologica de Jurejurando exequendo.’ No other works of importance were actually published by Andrewes; but after his death many works bearing his name gradually found their way into print. In 1628 ninety-six sermons were published, ‘by his majesty's special command,’ under the editorship of Laud and Buckeridge. These are, no doubt, word for word, Andrewes's own compositions; but the sermons on the Lord's Prayer and on the Temptation, the ‘Exposition of the Moral Law’ and the ‘Pattern of Catechistical Doctrine’ (virtually the same works under a slightly different form), and several more, are only so far Andrewes's as they express his ideas put into shape by others. But there is one set of writings which we must least of all omit to notice. Andrewes had that rarest of all gifts, the gift of composing prayers. His prayers at the consecration of a church or chapel are still generally used, and are admirable of their kind. In 1648 Richard Drake gave to the world a ‘Manual of Private Devotions,’ a ‘Manual of Directions for the Sick,’ and ‘Prayers for the Holy Communion.’ The three works only fill one small 8vo volume; they were all translated from the Greek and Latin manuscript of Andrewes, a copy of which the translator was ‘fortunate enough to obtain from the hands of his amanuensis’ (Henry Isaacson?). Of these three little works the first, and especially the first part of it, is by far the most famous. It was written in Greek, and was intended exclusively for the bishop's own private use; as also was the second part, which was written in Latin, and is far less finished than the first. The manuscript, we are told, was rarely out of the bishop's hands during the last period of his life. ‘Had you seen,’ writes Drake, ‘the original manuscript, happy in the glorious deformity thereof, being slubbered with his pious hands, and watered with his penitential tears, you would have been forced to confess that book belonged to no other than pure and primitive devotion.’ Another translation was published at Oxford in 1675; another by Dean Stanhope (himself a very able and excellent clergyman) at the beginning of the eighteenth century; another by the excellent Bishop Horne in the later part of the century; another by J. H. N[ewman] of the first part only, which was published first in the ‘Tracts for the Times,’ and afterwards in a separate form, the second part also being translated and bound up with it. They have reached the hearts of all classes of Christians, even of those who have differed most widely from the writer's views. Few prelates have had less sympathy with the school of thought to which Andrewes unquestionably belonged than the late Archbishop Tait; and yet he adopted Andrewes as his manual of devotion during all the later years of his life, and it was the very last devotional book which was used with him on his death-bed. Among his many admirers Bishop Hacket may be noticed, who knew him well, and concludes an eloquent panegyric with the question: ‘Who could come near the shrine of such a saint, and not offer up a few grains of glory upon it?’ (Life of Williams, p. 45). Andrewes died a bachelor; he was buried at St. Saviour's, Southwark, his old friend, Bishop Buckeridge, preaching the funeral sermon.

[Andrewes's Works in the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology; Exact Narrative of the Life and Death of Bishop Andrewes, 1650 (H. Isaacson); Russell's Life and Works of Lancelot Andrewes, 1863; Teale's Lives of English Divines, 1846; Fuller's Church History and Worthies; The St. James's Lectures, second series, Lecture 3, 1876; articles on Andrews, or Andrewes, in the Biographia Britannica and Hook's Ecclesiastical Biography; Prynne's Canterburie's Doome, 1646; Dean Church's Essay on Lancelot Andrewes, in Masters in English Theology; and the various editions of the Devotions with the Introductions, &c.]

J. H. O.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.6
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
401 ii 6 f.e. Andrewes, Lancelot: before His insert From 1589 to 1609 he was prebendary of Southwell
402 i 7 after stall insert (1597-8)
ii 13 after Essex insert He died 26 Sept. 1626