Tuesday, October 2, 2012

John Hazlewood: The Spirituality of the Caroline Divines

John Hazlewood, the bishop who ordained me, was born on 19th May, 1924 in London and raised in New Zealand. He served in the RAF during World War II and then read theology at Kings College, Cambridge. Following priestly training at Cuddeston, he was ordained deacon in 1949 and priest in 1950, both in Southwark Cathedral. He served the parish of St Michael and All Angels, Camberwell in London. 

After a short curacy in Sydney (St Jude's Randwick) and a couple of years in Dubbo, NSW, he returned to London where he remained until being appointed Vice Principal of St Francis Theological College, Brisbane, in 1955. During this time he preached and said Mass regularly at the city church of All Saints' Wickham Terrace. When I became Rector there in 1995 there were still parishioners who remembered the dashing young Father Hazlewood riding his motorbike from St Francis College to All Saints, sometimes clad in soutane and biretta! 

From 1960 to 1968 he was Dean of Rockhampton. During this period he married Dr Shirley Shevill, sister of the Bishop of North Queensland. In 1968, he became Dean of Perth, where his innovative and exuberant style brought him into national prominence. Thousands of young people flocked to hear Dean Hazlewood preach the Gospel in a way that was fresh, relevant and arresting at the famous rock Masses. 

In 1975 John Hazlewood was elected seventh Bishop of Ballarat, and embarked on a programme of catholic renewal, evangelism, the development of lay ministry, the support of youth ministry, and lay education programmes. He influenced a large number of men to offer themselves for the priesthood. He retired in 1993 and died in 1998.

John Hazlewood's lecture on the Caroline Divines was given to the Institute of Spiritual Studies at St Peter's Eastern Hill in 1982. It was included in a book published by the Institute, Anglican Spirituality. Bishop John used the material on other occasions, too. I have serialised it for readers of this blog, and it will keep us going for the next few days. 

John Hazlewood on The Caroline Divines 
Part 1: Introduction 

For my purposes I take it that the Caroline Divines are elergymen or bishops of the Church of England who lived, taught and suffered through the years of the reign of James 1, Charles 1 up to 1650 which is about the middle of the Commonwealth period under Cromwell when the Church of England had lost both its bishops and its Book of Common Prayer. 

My examples will be Lancelot Andrewes, 1555-1626, John Donne 1571-1631, George Herbert, 1593-1633, Nicholas Ferrar, 1592-1637 and Jeremy Taylor, 1613-1667. 

There is a particular interest in these men and in many others like them at this stage in the history of our Church. The Reformation bad been an emotional and economic shock, but the framework of the old Church remained, retaining both precious deposits of sanctity and many scandalous elements as well. Saints have a resilieney that runs with angels' laughter over the machinations of other men's greed, pride and polity. These saints, enshrined where they are in the dangerous minefields of Stuart and Puritan civil strife and Roman Catholic threat, hold hands with the saints of the 14th century in that they see the relationship of God with men shining through the natural world, sacramentalised in the Liturgy and effected in charity, love and care in community. 

Unlike the Puritans they did not see salvation as a solo flight into God but as a pilgrimage within the Communion of Saints that was the earthly, divinely appointed Church. After the Commonwealth the great teachers, especially Tillotson, have begun to avoid the personal and liturgical expressions of prayer to turn to the virtues, the Ethic and the Duty of a Christian man. The period of our research, then, is a short one, and in spite of its astonishing influence down to our own time in the surviving writings as we shall see, the return to the catholic principles of the Carolines had to await the Catholie renewal of the 19th century - a renewal whose spirituality at first bypassed our own Anglicans in favour of the Counter Reformation Catholic saints like Francis de Sales, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius and Scupoli. 

Australian Anglicans will now be familiar with some of the Carolines as eight of them have been given days of remembrance in the Calendar of "An Australian Prayer Book": William Laud, Charles 1, George Herbert, Richard Baxter, Jeremy Taylor, Lancelot Andrewes, Richard Hooker and Nicholas Ferrar. The New Australian Hymn Book has nine of their hymns and the English Hymnal carries fourteen. Here ìs one of them by George Herbert and I believe that it is still one of our most popular hymns. 

  King of Glory, King of Peace, 
 I will love thee,- 
 And that love may never cease, 
 I will move thee. 
 Thou hast granted my request, 
 Thou hast heard me; 
 Thou didst note my working breast, 
 Thou hast spared me. 

 Wherefore with my utmost art 
 I will sing thee, 
 And the cream of all my heart 
 I will bring thee, 
 Though my sins against me cried, 
 Thou didst hear me 
And alone, when they replied, 
 Thou didst hear me. 

 Seven whole days, not one in seven, 
 I will praise thee,- 
 In my heart, though not in heaven, 
 I can raise thee. 
 Small it is, in this poor sort 
 To enrol thee.- 
 E'en Eternity's too short 
 To extol thee. 

Here with its monarchical opening, its claim for praise in music and singing, its passion of a working breast, its appeal to dairy products as the best, its seven day a week dedication, its delightful exaggeration at the end and its humility are characteristics that we shall find in all the Carolines called Divines. 

The historical background to the first part of the 17th century is one of dramatic change, sometimes terror, evil favouritism, and the collapse of both monarchy and Church. The great Queen, Gloriana of Edmund Spenser had gone. The Puritans grew and eventually took over the Government and infested the Church. Theology was an ever popular discussion point from the King in palaces to the farmers in country parishes. This period saw the last two heretics burnt at the stake, and bishops and preachers had to watch their sermons and publications or suffer periods in prison. A vivid picture of the times is given to us in a sermon by Edward Reynolds (1599-1676). He was preaching before the Lord Mayor of London on November 5th, 1659. 

“We live in failing times. We have found men of low degree vanity, and men of high degree, a lie . . . we trusted too much in Parliaments and they have been broken; in Princes, and they have given up the ghost, - we have been afflicted both wìth our diseases and with our remedies. Fear and the pit and the snare have been upon us. We have been changed from vessel to vessel, and we break every vessel we are put into. Our ships have been broken, our trade broken, our estates broken, our government broken, our hopes broken, our Church broken, - nothing but our hearts and our sins, unbroken." 

In spite of this long list of sad struggle the theological output of the Divines set the Church of England up as a church dedicated to both Holy Scripture and its Liturgy, to the development of the spiritual life, to the advancement of scholarshìp and to good order in worship. The times were marred by courtier bishops, pluralist rectors and nepotism. The over-emphasis on the divine right of the Prince eventually destroyed that concept which had replaced the Papacy in the first two hundred years of Anglicanism. It is one of the saddest facts of our ecelesiastical bistory that the ideas, doctrines and practices of the great Caroline Divines were to run off into the sorry waters of schism in 1688. It only reflowered in official Anglicanism in the 18th century Episcopal Church in Scottand which in its turn had so much influenee on the Episcopal Church of the United States giving them even today a far, far better Liturgy than we have by our English descent in Australia. It seems that the Church of England never regained the insights of the Carolines until the beginning of the 20th century when she was no longer the Church of the Nation. An assumption the more dear to the Carolines for its being so visibly and frighteningly dethroned in their own day. 

We must now turn to our five exemplars. 

These men were well known in their time. Some like Taylor were used to imprisonment and poverty. Others like Andrewes were princely and survived the immorality and intrigue of the Court. One had been a most successful business man, Ferrar and Herbert had had hopes of preferment from the King. Donne was a convert from both Rome and debauchery. Donne and Herbert were poets as well as preachers. Ferrar a community man in the country. Taylor perhaps the greatest writer of theological literature since Hooker. They were all penitents and spiritual directors. They owed nearly everything they wrote and said to the Authorised Version of the Bible - which one of them helped to produce - and to the Book of Common Prayer. Most of them were splendid linguists and drew heavily on the Fathers and the Liturgies of the Greek and Latin Church. Donne designs his poetic meditations according to the methods of Ignatius of Loyola and the Corona Rosary exercises. Herbert is especially influenced by St Francis de Sales' "Introduction to a Devout and Holy Life" and to Scupoli's "Divine Combat". There are parallels in passion between Donne and John of the Cross, but not often in content. The Spanish School of spirituality is not as important as St Bernard or St Augustine.


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