Try out the new BibleStudyTools.com. Click here!

Robert Crowley

Robert Crowley, A. M.—This distinguished person was born in Gloucestershire^ and educated in Magdalen college, Oxford. In the year 1542, having been at the university eight years, he was elected probationer fellow. Upon the accession of King Edward, he removed to London, and was for some time a printer and bookseller, and preached occasionally as opportunity offered. He was a

• MS. Register, p. 579—582. + Newcourt's Repert. Eccl. vol. ii. p. 139. | Fuller says he was born in Northamptonshire.—Worthies, pt. ii. p. 290.

man of excellent parts and eminent piety, and received ordination from Bishop Ridley, afterwards the famous martyr.* Upon the accession of Queen Mary, he withdrew from the storm, and fled to Frankfort, where he was involved in the troubles occasioned by Dr. Cox and his party. His name, together with the names of many of his brethren, is annexed to " The Form of Discipline reformed and confirmed by the Church and Magistrates of that city."+

Upon the death of Queen Mary, and the accession of her sister Elizabeth, Mr. Crowley returned from exile, and obtained some preferment in the church. In the year 1563, he had the prebend of Mora, of which, however, he was deprived in 1565; most probably for nonconformity. In 1566, he became vicar of St. Giles's, near Cripplegate, London, where he was much followed and respected. In 1576, he was collated to the vicarage of St. Lawrence Jewry, in the city, which, however, he did not hold long; for the living became void in 1578.J It appears also, that soon after his return from exile, he became archdeacon of Hereford. He sat in the convocation of 1562, and subscribed the articles, together with the paper of requests then presented to the house, desiring a further reformation of the churchy He was a learned and popular preacher; therefore, October 15, 1559, he was nominated to preach the sermon at Paul's cross.

Early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, one Campneys, a turbulent and abusive pelagian, sought to disturb the peace of the church, by publishing a book against the received doctrine of predestination, though he had not the courage to affix his name to it. This virulent publication was answered by Mr. Crowley and Mr. John Veron, one of the queen's chaplains, and both the learned replies were approved and licensed by public authority.||

Soon after the accession of Queen Elizabeth, her majesty was greatly offended with many of the clergy, especially those in the city of London, for refusing to wear the square cap, the tippet, and the surplice. " And it is marvellous," says Mr. Strype, " how much these habits were abhorred by many honest, well-meaning men, accounting them the relics of antichrist, and that they ought not to De used in the church of Christ. Mr. Crowley called them conjuring

• Wood'i Athens, vol. i. p. 190.—Strype's Parker, p. 219.

+ Troubles at Frankeford, p. 114.

1 Newcourt's Repert. Eccl. vol. i. p. 181.

( Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 290. vol. ii. Adden. to Appen. p. IS..

|| Toplady's Historic Proof, vol. ii. p. 184, 185.

garments of popery, and would not, therefore, be persuaded to wear them. • Previous to the year 1566, this worthy servant of Christ was suspended; and though the cause of his suspension is not mentioned, it was, undoubtedly, his nonconformity to those rites and ceremonies which he accounted popish, superstitious, and unlawful.

During the same year he was involved in other troubles. For in the month of April, seeing a corpse coming to be buried at his church, attended by clerks in their surplices singing before it^ he threatened to shut the church-doors against them ; but the singing-men resisted, being resolved to go through with their work, till the alderman's deputy threatened to put them in the stocks for breaking the peace. Upon this, they slunk away. But complaint was made to Archbishop Parker and other commissioners, and Mr. Crowley was summoned to appear before them. Accordingly, April 4th, he appeared before the Archbishop, the Bishop of London, and the rest of their colleagues. During his examination, says our author, there fell from his lips several fond paradoxes, tending to anabaplisra. These fond paradoxes, as he is pleased to call them, were the following: When speaking of a call to the ministry, he said, " A man may have a motion in his conscience to preach, without any external call. And, as pastor, he would resist the surplice-men." When the commissioners asked him whether he would resist a minister thus sent to him, (meaning in his surplice) he said, " That till he was deprived, his conscience would move him so to do." These are his fond paradoxes, said to be of so dangerous a tendency J When the archbishop discharged him from his flock and his parish, he refused to be deprived contrary to law, saying, " he would be committed to prison, rather than suffer a wolf to come to his flock." The good man was, therefore, deprived of his living, separated from his flock, and committed to prison. Also, the alderman's deputy mentioned above, for taking his part against the surplicemen, was obliged to enter into a bond of a hundred pounds, to be ready when called. " So gentle," says Mr. u Strype, was our archbishop in his censure of so great a fault r+

How long Mr. Crowley remained a prisoner, we have not been able to learn. Certain it is, that he continued under

confinement some time. The mild archbishop informed the secretary how he had dealt with him, and that he could not have treated him otherwise, considering his behaviour, and especially his saying, that he would not suffer the wolf to come to his flock. By the wolf, Mr. Crowley appears to have meant a minister in a surplice; and this expression seems to have been a very material part of the crime for which he was censured. The Lord's day following his deprivation and commitment, the archbishop sent Mr. Bickley, his chaplain, to preach in his place.

In the year 1582, Mr. Crowley was very diligent in disputing with certain popish priests, confined in the Tower, under sentence of death. With one of them, named Kirby, he took much pains, and laboured to the utmost of his

!)ower, to convince him of his error, in maintaining the awfulness of the pope's deposing princes. He attended them to the place of execution, where he used all his endeavours to convince Kirby of the absurdity of those principles for which he was about to suffer. He urged from Rom. xiii. and John xix., that, as princes receive their authority from God alone, they could not be deposed by any other power. When Kirby asked whether a prince guilty of turcism, atheism, or infidelity, might not be deposed, it is said, that Mr. Crowley and the rest of the ministers answered very learnedly m the negative. Onthis occasion, our divine observed, " That if a prince fall into any such errors, he is indeed punishable. But by whom ? Not by any earthly prince; but by that heavenly prince, who gave him his authority; and who, seeing him abuse it, will, in justice, correct him for so doing."*

Mr. Crowley was a man of a most holy and exemplary life, a pious, learned, and laborious preacher, and much beloved by his people.t Mr. Strype denominates him a learned and zealous man, possessing great parts and eminent piety.J Wood says, that he lived to a considerable age, and spent his life chiefly in labouring to propagate and settle the protestant religion.^ He was a most learned and laborious writer, as appears from his numerous works, many of which were written against the errors of popery. He died June 18,1588, and his remains were interred in the chancel of St Giles's church, where he had been vicar. The following

• Strype's Parker, p. 219. + MS. penes me.

i Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 136.—Life of Parker, p. 210. 5 Wood's Athenas Oxoo. vol. i. p. 191.

monumental inscription, engraven on a brass plate, was afterwards erected to his memory :•

Here lieth the body
of Robert Crowley, clerk,
late vicar of this parish,
who departed this life the 18 day of June,
in the year 1588.

His Works.—1. The Supper of the Lord after the true meaning of the Sixth of John, and the xi of the 1 Epistle to the Corinthians. And incidentally in the Exposition of the Supper, is confuted the Letter of Mr. Thomas More against Joh. Frith, 1533.—2. Confutation of Nicholas Shaxton, Bishop of Sanjm, his Recantation of 13 Articles at the Burning of Mrs. Anne Askew, 1546.—3. Explicalio petetoria (ad Parliamentum) adversus expilatores plebis, published in English in 1548.—4. Confutation of Miles Hoggard's wicked Ballad made in Defence of Transubstantiation of the Sacrament, 1548.— 5. The Voice of the last Trumpet blown by the seventh Angel, containing twelve Lessons, 1549.—-6. Translation of the Psalms of David, 1549.—7. The Litany with Hymns, 1549.—8. David's Psalms turned into Metre, 1549.—9. The Visions of Pierce Plowman, 1550.—10. Pleasure and Pain, Heaven and Hell. Remember these four and all shall be well, 1550.—11. Way to Wealth, wherein is plainly a most present Remedy for Sedition, 1550.—12. One and thirty Epigrams, wherein are briefly touched so many Abuses, that may, and ought to, be put away, 1550.—13. An Apologie of those English Preachers and Writers, which Cerberus the Three-headed Dog of Hell, chargeth with false Doctrine under the name of Predestination, 1566.—14. Of the Signes and Tokens of the latter Day, 1567.—15. A Setting open of the subtle Sophistry of Tho. Watson, D. D. which he used in his two Sermons preached before Qu. Mary, in Lent 1553, conceming the real Presence in the Sacrament, 1569. +—16. Sermon in the Chappell at Gilde-hall in London, 29 Sept. 1574, before the Lord Mayor and the whole state of the Citie, on Psalme exxxix. 21, ike., 1575.—17. Answer to Tho. Pound in six Reasons, wherein he sheweth that the Scriptures must be judged by the Church, 1581.—18. Brief Discourse concerning those four usual Notes whereby Christ's Catholick Church is known, 1581.—19. Replication to that lewd Answer which Frier Joh. Francis (of the Minimies order in Nigeon, near Paris) hath made to a Letter that his Mother caused to be sent to him out of England, 1586.—20. Deliberate Aunsweare to a Papist, proving that Papists are Antichristian Schismatics, and that Religious Protestants are indeed true Catholicks, 1587.—21. The Schoole of Vertue and Book of good Nurture, teaching Children and Youths their Duties, 1588.—22. Dialogue between Lent and Libertic, wherein is declared that Lent is a meer Invention of Man.

» Stow's Survey of London, b. iii. p. 8S.

+ Mr. Strype says, that these sermons being very much admired, and preventing many from embracing the protestant religion, ought to have peen answered much sooner.—Utrmt'i Annals, vol. i. p. 540.