R. Harvey was a zealous and learned minister in the city of Norwich, a divine of puritanical principles, and brought into troubles for his nonconformity. Having spoken against the pompous titles, and the government of bishops, and other ecclesiastical officers, he was summoned, May 13, 1576, to appear before his diocesan at Norwich. Upon his appearance before his lordship, he was immediately suspended; when the dean, who pronounced the sentence, behaved himself towards Mr. Harvey, not as a judge, but a most angry tyrant. +
Mr. Harvey having received the ecclesiastical censure, and conceiving himself to have been hardly used, wrote a letter to the Bishop of Norwich, in which he addressed his lordship with considerable freedom and boldness. The substance of this letter is as follows:—" I am moved in conscience," says he, " to address you in this way, that I may give a further account of my behaviour. I think you may see, if you shut not your eyes, how the man of sin, I mean the pope of Rome, hath so perverted and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, that not one free spot of it now remaineth. In like manner, touching the discipline and government of the church, although our Saviour, who is the only king of his church, sate in the seat of judgment, with the crown of life on his head, aud the sceptre of righteousness in his hand;
• Wood's Athens Ozon. vol. i. p. 143—145.
t Strype's Await, vol. ii. p. 448,449.—Parte of a Register, p. 339.
that man of sin plucked him from his throne, and placed himself upon it, having on his head the mitre of death, and in his hand the sword of cruelty and blood. These things I hope you know.
" We find in the scriptures of truth, that when Christ ruled and reigned in his church, his officers were bishops or pastors, and elders and deacons. But when the pope set aside this government, he appointed new governors in the church, as cardinals, archbishops, lord-bishops, deans, chancellors, commissioners, and many others. The doctrine and government of the church being thus thrown down, it pleased the Lord in his time to shew us favour. By means of our good prince, he hath purged the doctrines of our church from the errors of popery; and was ready to have restored unto us true discipline, if it had not been prevented by our own slackness and unthankfulness. But you prelates turn the edge of the sword against us, and stand in the way to keep us from the tree of life. The government of the church is much the same as it was under popery. The pope's officers, you know, still bear rule; and, therefore, the reins of government are not in the hands of Christ, but in the hands of antichrist. And though you hide yourselves under the shadow of the prince, saying, that she created you and your authority ; you perversely attempt to deceive the world, and you miserably abuse the name and goodness of our prince. For how long were your names and offices in full force before our prince was born ? How then will you make her authority the origin of your jurisdiction.'
" Moreover, as Jesus Christ is the only lawgiver in his church, and as he alone has power and authority to appoint its officers, if any king or prince in the world appoint any other officers in the church, than those which Christ hath already allowed and appointed, we will lay down our necks upon the block, rather than consent to them. Wherefore, do not so often object to us the name of our prince; for you use it as a cloak to cover your cursed enterprizes. Have you not thrust out those who preached the word of God sincerely and faithfully ? Have you not plucked out those preachers whom God fixed in his church ? And do you think that this plea, / did but execute the law, will excuse you before the High Judge."* It does not appear what effect this bold address had on the mind of the reverend
• Parte of a Register, p. 365—370.
prelate; nor whether the good man ever procured his restoration.
Mr. Harvey appears to have written " A Treatise of the Church and Kingdom of Christ," a copy of which is still preserved, though most probably it was never published.* The Oxford historian gives a very curious account of one Mr. Richard Harvey, who lived about the same time, but he does not appear to have been the same person.+ One Mr. Richard Harvey of Pembroke-hall, Cambridge, took his degrees in Arts in 1581 and 1583. This was probably the same person as that last mentioned.} v