Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Lancelot Andrewes, Selected Writings

Lancelot Andrewes, Selected Writings, Ed. P. E. Hewison, Fyfiled Books, Manchester, 1995.

…when Andrewes was asked how many languages he knew, he replied that he could not remember, but he regarded himself as fluent in fifteen. The holiness is also undoubted: five hours a day, every day, in prayer. In fact the combination meant that no one could see him until the afternoon: ‘He doubted they were no true Scholars, that came to speake with him before noon.’ His writings, however, are a different matter: even in his own day his sermons were not always appreciated, by the end of the seventeenth century they were hopelessly unfashionable, and remained so until a famous essay by T. S. Eliot in the 1920s began a revival which does not really seem to have laster. (Introduction, vii)

Andrewes’ final rise to eminence came in the reign of James I, who valued him both for his learning and for his strong support of the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. This combination was central to his appointment as a principal preacher to the court, and also to his deployment in theological controversy. In particular Andrewes spent the years 1608 to 1610 locked in combat with the Jesuit Cardinal Bellarmine, quite simply the finest theological brain in continental Europe, chiefly over the issue of Authority. The outcome is probably best seen as a hard-fought draw. … in the process of defending Anglicanism Andrewes defined and in a sense actually helped to create it. He saw the doctrine and practice of the Church of England as rooted in a combination of Scripture, the Early Church and Reason… (ix)

Another great contribution to the Anglican tradition by Andrewes was his part in the 1604 Hampton Court Conference, where he was made responsible for the production of the Old Testament historical books from Genesis to II Kings for the Authorized Version of the Bible. (ix)

…it is only fair to mention Andrewes’ behavior in 1613 over the notorious Essex Divorce case, perhaps the most sordid business at the most sordid court in English history. Andrewes followed the king’s wishes and voted for the divorce or rather, as an enraged Abbot put it, ‘among us he said nothing.’ There is always an uneasy contrast between the two sides of Andrewes’ world. On the one hand is his contact with a court where corruption, intrigue and lies flourished (although observers noted that his simple presence served to restrain the king’s customary ‘unseemly levity’). On the other hand is his famous, and rather controversial, private chapel, with its rich furnishings, its silver candlesticks, its elaborate Communion plate, its incense, its whole High Church practice, what contemporaries called ‘the beauty of holiness’. / Andrewes did not long survive the king he served so loyally. James died in 1625; Andrewes on 26 September 1626. (x)

He bears the final responsibility for the form of such celebrated passages as the Creation and the Fall, Abraham and Issac, the Exodus, David’s laments for Saul and Jonathan and for Absalom, Elijah and the ‘still small voice’. (xv)

It came by an Angel then; no man was meet to be the messenger of it. And look, how it came then so it should come still, and none but an Angel bring it, as more fit for the tongues of Angels than of men. Yet since God hath allowed sinful men to be the reporters of it at the second hand, and the news never the worse; for that good news is good news and welcome by any, though the person be but even a foul leper that brings it [2 Kings 7:9] yet, that the meanness of the messenger offend us not, ever we are to remember this; be the party who he will that brings it, the news of Christ’s birth is a message for an Angel. (A Sermon Preached Before the King’s Majesty, at Whitehall on Tuesday, the Twenty-Fifth of December, A.D. MDCX. Being Christmas-Day, 2)
The fire is as the fuel is, and the joy is as the matter is. There is not like joy to a shepherd when his ewe brings him a lamb, as when his wife brings him a son; yet that of a lamb is a joy, such as it is. But then, if that son should prove to be princeps pastorum, ‘the chief shepherd in all the land’, that were somewhat more. But then, if he should prove to be a Cyrus, or a David, a prince, then certainly it were another manner of joy, gaudium magnum indeed. As the matter is, so is the joy. (7)

Yea, and the most common part of the inn. For though they sort themselves and have every one of the several chambers, in the stable all have interest; that is common. And as the place public, so is the benefit, and so is the joy public of His as the place public, so is the benefit, and so is the joy public of His birth: Christmas joy right; all fare better for this day. (8)

Who is it? Three things are said of this Child by the Angel. 1. He is a ‘Saviour’. 2. ‘Which is Christ’. 3. ‘Christ the Lord’. Three of His titles, well and orderly inferred one of another by good consequences. (10)

He that could save our souls from that destroyer—were not the birth of such an one good news trow? Is not such a Saviour worth the hearkening after? Is He not? It is then because we have nto that sense of our souls and the dangers of them, that we have of our bodies; nor that fear of our ghostly enemies, … (12)

He, of Whom all the promises made mention, and He the performance of them all; of Whom all the types under the Law were shadows, and He the substances of them all; of Whom all the prophecies ran, and He the fulfilling of them all; (13)

And to be it, ex officio; His office, His very profession, to be one, that all may have right to repair unto Him, and find it at His hands. Not a Saviour incidentally, as it fell out; but one, ex professo, anointed to that end, … not for a time, but for ever; not to the Jews, as did the rest, but even to all the ends of the earth. (14)

And there is yet more particularity in this word Christ: three offices did God from the beginning erect to save His people by; and that, by three acts—the very heathen took notice of them—1. Purgare, 2. Illuminare, 3. Perficere. 1. Priests, to purge or expiate; 2. Prophets, to illuminate or direct them; 3. Kings, to set all right, and to keep all right in that perfection which this world admitteth. And all these three had their several anointings. Aaron the Priest, Elisha the Prophet, Saul the King. In the Saviour Which is Christ, His will was all should meet, that nothing in Him might want to the perfecting of this work. That He might be a perfect Saviour of all, He was all. ‘A Priest after the order of Melchizedek’; a Prophet to be heard when Moses should hold his peace; a King to save His people, ‘Whose name should be Jehova Justitia nostra.’ David’s Priest, Moses’ Prophet, Jeremy’s King. (14)

By His Priesthood to purge, expiate, and ‘save us from our sins, being a propitiation to God for them’; by His prophecy to illuminate and save us from the by-paths of error, ‘guiding our feet in the way of peace’; by His Kingdom protecting and conducting us through the miseries of this life, till He perfect us eternally by Himself in the joys of His Heavenly Kingdom. (15)

They that were not the Lord could save but form worldly calamities, could but prune and take off the twigs, as it were; He, form sin itself, and so plucketh it up by the roots. (17)

But the Prophet knew well that was not their worst captivity, nor should be their best delivery. There was another yet behind concerned them more, if they understood their own state aright, which was reserved to the Messias to free them from. (A Sermon Preached Before the King’s Majesty, At Whitehall, on Wednesday, the Twenty-Fifth of December, A.D. MDCXVI. Being Christmas-Day., 23-4)

The greatness of a meeting growth three ways. 1. By the parties who; 2. The occasion whereon; and 3. the end whereto they meet. (25)

…what could Righteousness desire to see and satisfy herself with, that in Him was not to be seen? A clean birth, a holy life, an innocent death; (36)

Righteousness … She turned away her face, shut her eyes, clapped to the casement, would not abide so much as to look hither—at us, a sort of forlorn sinners;—not vouchsafe us once the cast of her eye. (36)

The Jews, they represent Truth; to them it belongeth properly. (38)

Truth is not enough; not the truth of religion never so known, never so professed; not without Righteousness. Truth is but the light to guide us, Righteousness is the way to bring us thither. A light is to see by; a way is to go in; so is Righteousness. (40)


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