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Peter Smart

Peter Smart, A. M.—This great sufferer in the cause of nonconformity was born in Warwickshire, in the year 1569, and educated first at Westminster school, then at Broadgate's-hall, Oxford, and afterwards elected student of Christ's Church, in the same university. After taking his degrees he entered into the ministry, when Dr. William James, dean, and afterwards bishop, of Durham, presented him first to the grammar-school at Durham, then made him one of his chaplains; and, in 1609, presented him to the sixth

S-ebend in the cathedral of Durham, and the rectory of oldovers.$ In the year 1614 he was removed from the sixth to the fourth prebend; but his patron, the bishop, dying in about three years, he received no further advancement.

The first business of a public nature iu which Mr. Smart appears to have been engaged, was his appointment to the high commission for the province of York. He was nominated one of the commissioners in the year 1625; and though at their second assembly he qualified according to law, he seldom honoured the court with his attendance, and subscribed only to one sentence. Upon the renewal of the commission in 1627, he again qualified, but seldom attended.!

* Wood'* Athena* Oxon. vol. ii. p. fiO, 61.

t Fullei■'> \\ on hit's, part ii. p. 340.

J l'almrr'i Noncon. Mini. vol. ii. p. 145.

$ Granger says he was minister at Bowden, by which is probably intended the same place.— Biog. Mil. vol. ii. p. 169.

II Wood's Athene Oxon. vol. ii. p. 11.—Illustration of Neal in the article of Peter Smart, p. 1, 3.

This was about ten months previous to the commencement of his troubles, occasioned by a sermon which lie preached in the cathedral at Durham. In this sermon, delivered July 27, 1628, he spoke with considerable freedom against the superstitions and popish innovations, which Dr. Cosins and others had intioduced into that church.* His text was, / hate all those that love superstitious vanities, but thy law do I love. For the satisfaction of the reader, we shall insert some of the most exceptionable and offensive parts of this sermon. He said, " The whore of Babylon's bastardly brood, doating upon their mother's beauty, that painted harlot, the church of Rome, has laboured to restore her all her robes and jewels again, especially her looking-glass, the mass, in which she may behold all her bravery, For they, despising all the plain simplicity of that grave matron, Christ's holy spouse, have turned her offices all out of doors, with all her household-stuff, her tables, her books, her cups, her communions, the very names of her ministers: instead whereof, the words priest and altar are taken up by them; because without a priest no sacrifice can be offered; without priest and sacrifice there is no'use of an altar; and without all these there can be no mass. But the mass coming in, brings in with it an inundation of ceremonies, crosses, crucifixes, chalices, images, copes, candlesticks, tapers, basons, and a thousand such trinkets which attend upon the mass.

"Before we had ministers, as the scripture calls them, we had communion tables, we had sacraments; but now we have' priests, we have sacrifices and altars, with much altar-furniture, and many massing implements. Nay, what want we? Have we not all religion again f For if religion consists in altar-ducking, cope-wearing, organ-playing, piping, and singing, crossing of cushions, kissing of clouts, oft starting up and squatting down, nodding of heads, and whirling about till their noses stand eastward; in candlesticks, crucifixes, burning of wax-candles, and (what is worst of all) gilding of angels, garnishing of images, and setting them up: if, I say, religion consists m these, and such like superstitious vanities, ceremonial fooleries; apish toys, and popish trinkets, we had never more religion than now. They are whores and whoremongers, they commit spiritual fornication, who bow their bodies before the idol."* These were the most exceptionable passages in Mr. Smart's ' sermon, - even his enemies being judges.

* An account of these innovations is still on record. Dr. Cosins removed the communion table in the church of Durham, and erected it altar-wise, expending tiro hundred pounds in beautifying it.—He used there to officiate, turning his back to the people.—He used extraordinary bowing to it.—He compelled others to do the same, using violence on those who refused.—He abolished the singing of Psalms in the church.—He caused three hundred wax candles to be set op and lighted in the church, on Canillcmas-day at night, in honour of our Lady.—He caused divers images, most gloriously painted, to be erected in the church.—He used these words in his sermon: "The reformers of this church, when they abolished the mass, took away all good order, and, instead of a reformation, made it a deformation,"— He caused two thousand pounds to be expended in setting up images and other superstitious innovations. He caused the holy knife for cutting the sacramental bread to be consecrated; and he set up a splendid picture of our Saviour, with a golden beard, and a blue cap on his head.—Ruthnorth's CoUec. vol. v. p. 208—810.—Illustration of Neal, p. 81.

The very day on which he preached this invective and seditious sermon, as it is called, against the decent and allowed ceremonies of the church of England, a letter missive Mas issued to apprehend him, and bring him before the dean and other commissioners. Upon his appearance he delivered up his sermon to be copied, declaring that he would justify every particular therein contained. After he had entered into a bond of one hundred pounds for his future appearance he was dismissed. From the time of his first appearance to January 29th following, he appeared no less than eight different times. before his ecclesiastical judges. In the mean time, articles were exhibited against him, to which he gave his written answers. At length, however, he was sent to the high commission at Lambeth. Fuller says, that for preaching the above sermon, "Mr. Smart was kept a prisoner four months by the high commision of York, before any articles were exhibited against him, and five months before any proctor was allowed him. From the high commission of York he was carried to the high commission at Lambeth, and, after long trouble, remanded back to York, fined Jive hundred pounds, ordered to recant, and, for neglecting which, he was fined a second time, excommunicated, degraded, deprived, and committed to prison, his damage amounting to many thousand pounds."t It is inquired by what law Mr. Smart was treated thus, for preaching against setting up images, altars, placing them at the east end of the church, and bowing to them, directly contrary to the Book of Common Prayer, and the homily against idolatry, confirmed by act of parliament .'J He remained in prison eleven or twelve years, till he was released by the long parliament. The puritans had so much esteem

• Grey's Examination of Nral, vul. i. p. 118, 119.—Illustration of Neal, p. 131.

+ Fuller's Church Hist..b. xi. p. 173.—Illustration of Neal, p. 5, t2. t Huntley's Prelates' Usurpations, p. 160.

and compassion for him, that during his imprisonment, they raised him J£400 a year.' Bishop Laud, it should be observed, was the leading person in all the cruelties inflicted upon Mr. Smart.t

November 12, 1640, the humble petition of Mr. Peter Smart, prisoner in the King's-bench, complaining of the hard usage he had met with, was read in the house of commons, when it was referred to the committee appointed to consider the petition of Dr. Leighton and others. The house further ordered, "That Mr. Smart, in all his particulars, shall have tlie same liberty as that granted to Dr. Leighton, and shall have copies of the records in the king's-bench and the high commission gratis."

On January 12th following, an order passed the house, "That Dr. Easdale, Roger Blanchard, and Phineas Hodson, D. D. shall shew cause to this house why they do not pay the monies adjudged to be paid to Mr. Peter Smart, upon a judgment in the king's-bench, against the said Easdale, Blanchard, and Hodson, at the suit of the said Peter Smart about ten years since."

• Granger's Biog. Hist, vol. ii. p. 170.

+ Prynne's Cant. Doome, p. 78,93,493.—Daring Mr. Smart's confinement in prison, he received a letter from Mri. Smart, dated Witten-Gilbart, Aprils, 16.12. This letter, which is said lo be " larded with cant,and to be a specimen of female casuistical puritaoism," was as follows:—

"Most loving and dearly beloved liusband,

"The grace and blessing of God be with you, even as unto mine "ovfne soule and body, so do I dayly in my harty prayer wish unto yon •'and my children; for I doe dayly twise, at the least, in this sort "remember you. And I do nut duubte, deere husband, hut that both yon "and 1, as we be written in the bouke of life, so we shall together enjoy "the saime everlastingly, through! the saveing grace and mercy of God, "our deare Father, in his Sooone onr Christ: and for this present life, let "us wholly appoinle ourselves to the will of our God, to glorific him, "whether by life or by death; and even that mercifull Lord make us "worthy to honor him either way, as pleaseth him, Amen. Ye what great "cause of rejoysing have we in our most gratiuus God, we can not but "brust fourth into the prasing of such a bouutifiill God, which maidc you "worthy to suffer for his name and worde saike: for it is given to you of "God, not only that ye should believe in him; but also, that ye should "suffer for bis saik, 1 Peter, 4, 5. Yf ye suffer rebuke in the name of "Christ, that is, in Christ's cause, for his truths sake, then ar ye happy "and blessed; for the glory of the spirit of God resteth upon you, and "therefore rejoice in the Lord,and againe I say rejoice; for the distressed "church doth yet suffer dayly thinges for her mortification, and for this "cause, is contemned and despised. But alas I if thy servant David, if "thine onely Soonne our Saviour Christ livede in shame and contempt, and "weere a moking stocke for the people; whic should not we then "patiently suffer all things, that we might enter into glory, through many "troubles, vexations, shame, and ignominy, &c.—The blessing of God be "with all, Amen, pray, pray.—Your loving and faithfull wife untill "death,

"Susanna Smart."

tttiutrtUn oftftal, p. 61—70.

On January 22nd, Mr. Rouse presented the report of the committee concerning Mr. Smart to the house of commons, -upon which the house resolved:

1. "That the several proceedings of the high commission court of York and Canterbury, against Mr. Smart, and the several fines by them imposed upon him, are illegal and unjust, and ought not to bind.

2. "That the degradation of Mr. Smart, and his deprivation from his prebend, and other ecclesiastical livings, are unjust and illegal; and that he ought to be restored to all of them, together with the mean profits.

3. "That Dr. Cosins and others, the prosecutors of Mr. Smart, ought to make him satisfaction for his damages sustained.

4. "That Dr. Cosins (a chief actor in Mr. Smart's prosecution) is guilty of bringing superstitious innovations into the church, tending to idolatry; and of speaking scandalous and malicious words against his majesty's supremacy and the religion established.

5. "That Dr. Cosins is, in the opinion of this house, unfit and unworthy to be a governor in either of the universities, or to continue any longer head or governor of any college, or to hold and enjoy any ecclesiastical promotions."*

The house then referred it to the committee, to prepare such things as might be thought fit to be transmitted to the house of lords concerning Dr. Cosins; and also to consider of the most proper way of making Mr. Smart reparations for the damages he had sustained. When Mr. Rouse delivered the charge against Dr. Cosins, at the bar of the house of lords, he said, among other things, ".That by the arms of the priests Mr. Smart had been oppressed and ruined. He fell upon their superstitions and innovations, and they fell upon him with their arms; they beat him down; yea, they pulled him up by the roots, taking away all the means of his support;

}1et leaving him life to feel his miseries. There is no cruelty ike priestly cruelty; and this cruelty cast him into long continued misery, whence he could obtain no release by any priestly mercy. And now it is prayed, that as these delinquents, by their cruel oppressions of Mr. Smart, have advanced the cause of popery, so they may in a suitable degree be punished; that in them priestly cruelty, and the

• Riubworth'i Collcc, vol. v. p. 41,136, 152.—Nalson's Cotlec. vol. i. p. 733, 734.

very cause of popery, may appear to be punished and suppressed; and Mr. Smart, suffering for die cause of protestancy, may be so repaired, that in him pious constancy, and the cause of protestancy, may appear to be righted and repaired."* Mr. Rouse, in a speech before the house of commons, March 16, 1640, denominated Mr. Smart "the protomartyr;" and lie was usually called, " the protomartyr in these latter days of persecution."t

Mr. Smart, therefore, received some reparations for damages, but whether adequate to his losses and sufferings, is extremely doubtful. His cast* Mas several times before the lords, who passed various orders in favour of his reparations.! By an order which they passed in 1642, he was restored to his prebend in Durham, and presented to the vicarage of Acliff in that county.§ In 1644 he was witnes* against Archbishop Laud at his trial, aud was living October 31, 1648, being then seventy-nine years of age." Mr. Smart was a tolerable poet, a pious and judicious minister, a reverend and grave divine, and a zealous enemy to superstition ;f but his enemies say, that he was of a most forward, fierce, and ungovernable spirit; and that he was justly imprisoned and duly rewarded for his excessive obstinacy.** This, however, is the first time we have heard that excessive obstinacy was duly rewarded thus. It is said, " he had not preached in the cathedral church at Durham, though a prebendary'of it, for seven years, till he preached that seditious sermon for which he was questioned. Aud while he held and enjoyed his preferment, and his health too, he seldom preached more than once or twice a year." This account comes from one of his prosecutors, being his bitter enemy; and appears extremely suspicious. For if Mr. Smart had been so indolent and inattentive to his ministerial function as here represented, how was it that he gained so high a reputation among his brethren? The puritans, it is well known, invariably abhorred the conduct of idle, worldly shepherds, over the flock of Christ.tt

His Works.—1. The Vanity and Downfal of Superstition and Popish Ceremonies, in two sermons, in the cathedral church of Durham, preached in July 1628, printed 16*28.—2. A brief but tru«

» Rush worth's Collec. vol. v. p. 211.

t Grey's Examination, vol. i. p. 119.—Wood's Athens Oxon. vol. ii. p. If.

1 Illustration of Neal, p. 137—142.

S Nalson's Collec. vol. ii. p. 406.—Neat's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 202.

j Illustration of Neal, p. 161.

I Prynoe's Cant. Dootne, p. 93.—Wood's Athenss Oxon. vol. ii. p. IS.

•• Illustration of Neal, p. 5, 162.

-1 Biographia Britan. vol. iv. p. 283. Edit. 1778.

historical Narrative of some notorious Arts and Speeches of Mr. John Cozens, and some other of his Companions, contracted into Articles.—3. Various Poems in Latin and English.—4. Various Letters.