Lancelot Andrewes

 ANDREWES, LANCELOT (1555-1626), English divine, was born in 1555 in London.  His family was an ancient Suffolk one; his father, Thomas, became master of Trinity House.  Lancelot was sent to the Cooper’s free school, Ratcliff, in the parish of Stepney, and then to the Merchant Taylors’ school under Richard Mulcaster.  In 1571 he was entered as a Watts scholar at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where in 1574-1575 he graduated B.A., proceeding M.A. in 1578.  In 1576 he had been elected fellow of Pembroke.  In 1580 he took orders; in 1581 he was incorporated M.A. at Oxford.  As catechist at his college he read lectures on the Decalogue, which, both on their delivery and on their publication (in 1630), created much interest.  He also gained much reputation as a casuist.  After a residence in the north as chaplain to Henry Hastings, earl of Huntingdon, President of the North, he was made vicar of St Giles’s, Cripplegate, in 1588, and there delivered his striking sermons on the temptation in the wilderness and the Lord’s prayer.  In a great sermon on the 10th of April (Easter week) 1588, he stoutly vindicated the Protestantism of the Church of England against the Romanists, and, oddly enough, adduced “Mr Calvin” as a new writer, with lavish praise and affection.  Andrewes was preferred to the prebendal stall of St Pancras in St Paul’s, London, in 1589, and on the 6th of September of the same year became master of his own college of Pembroke, being at the time one of the chaplains of Archbishop Whitgift.  From 1589 to 1609 he was also prebendary of Southwell.  On the 4th of March 1590, as one of the chaplains of Queen Elizabeth, he preached before her a singularly outspoken sermon, and in October gave his introductory lecture at St Paul’s, undertaking to comment on the first four chapters of Genesis.  These seem to have been worked up later into a compilation called The Orphan Lectures (1657).  Andrewes was an incessant worker as well as preacher, and often laboured beyond his strength.  He delighted to move among the people, and yet found time to meet with a society of antiquaries, of which Raleigh, Sidney, Burleigh, Arundel, the Herberts, Saville, Stow and Camden were members.  In 1598 he declined the two bishoprics of Ely and Salisbury, as the offers were coupled with a proposal to alienate part of the revenues of those sees.  On the 23rd of November 1600 he preached at Whitehall a remarkable sermon on justification, which gave rise to a memorable controversy.  On the 4th of July 1601 he was appointed dean of Westminster and gave much attention to the school there.  He assisted at the coronation of James I. and in 1604 took part in the Hampton Court conference.  His name is the first on the list of divines appointed to make the authorized version of the Bible.  In 1605 he was consecrated bishop of Chichester and made lord almoner.  In 1609 he published Tortura Torti, a learned work which grew out of the Gunpowder Plot controversy and was written in answer to Bellarmine’s Matthaeus Tortus, which attacked James I.’s book on the oath of allegiance.  After his translation to Ely (1609), he again controverted Bellarmine in the Responsio ad Apologiam, a treatise never answered.  In 1617 he accompanied James I. to Scotland with a view to persuading the Scots that Episcopacy was preferable to Presbyterianism.  In 1618 he attended the synod of Dort, and was soon after made dean of the Chapel Royal and translated to Winchester, a diocese which he administered with loving prudence and the highest success.  He died on the 26th of September 1626, mourned alike by leaders in Church and state.

Two generations later, Richard Crashaw caught up the universal sentiment, when, in his lines “Upon Bishop Andrewes’ Picture before his Sermons,” he exclaims:--

 “This reverend shadow cast that setting sun,
Whose glorious course through our horizon run,
Left the dim face of this dull hemisphere,
All one great eye, all drown’d in one great teare.” 

Andrewes was distinguished in many fields.  At court, though no trifler or flatterer, he was a favourite counsellor in three successive reigns, but he never meddled much in civil or temporal affairs.  His learning made him the equal and the friend of Grotius, and of the foremost contemporary scholars.  His preaching was a unique combination of rhetorical splendour and scholarly richness; his piety that of an ancient saint, semi-ascetic and unearthly in its self-denial.  As a churchman he is typically Anglican, equally removed from the Puritan and the Roman positions.  He stands in true succession to Richard Hooker in working out the principles of the Puritanism, Andrewes chiefly combated Romanism.  A good summary of his position is found in his First Answer to Cardinal Perron, who had challenged James I.’s use of the title “Catholic.” His position in regard to the Eucharist is naturally more mature than that of the first reformers. “As to the Real Presence we are agreed; our controversy is as to the mode of it.  As to the mode we define nothing rashly, nor anxiously investigate, any more than in the Incarnation of Christ we ask how the human is united to the divine nature in One Person.  There is a real change in the elements—we allow ut panis iam consecratus non sit panis quem natura formavit; sed, quem benedictio consecravit, et consecrando etiam immutavit” Responsio, p. 263).  Adoration is permitted, and the use of the terms “sacrifice” and “altar” maintained as being consonant with scripture and antiquity.  Christ is “a sacrifice—so, to be slain; a propitiatory sacrifice—so, to be eaten” (Sermons, vol. ii. p. 296).  “By the same rules that the Passover was, by the same may ours be termed a sacrifice.  In rigour of speech, neither of them; for to speak after the exact manner of divinity, there is but one only sacrifice, veri nominis, that is Christ’s death.  And that sacrifice but once actually performed at His death, but ever before represented in figure, from the beginning; and ever since repeated in memory to the world’s end.  That only absolute, all else relative to it, reprerentative of it, operative by it. . . . Hence it is that what names theirs carried, ours do the like, and the Fathers make no scruple at it—no more need we” (Sermons, vol. ii. p.  300).  As to reservation, “it needeth not: the intent is had without it,” since an invalid may always have his private communion.  Andrewes declares against the invocation of saints, the apparent examples in patristic literature are “rhetorical outbursts, not theological definitions.” His services to his church have been summed up thus:--(1) he has a keen sense of the proportion of the faith and maintains a clear distinction between what is fundamental, needing ecclesiastical commands, and subsidiary, needing only ecclesiastical guidance and suggestion; (2) as distinguished from the earlier protesting standpoint, e.g. of the Thirty-nine Articles, he emphasized a positive and constructive statement of the Anglican position.

LITERATURE.—Of his works the Manual of Private Devotions is the best known, for it appeals to Christians of every church.  One of the many good modern editions is that by Alex.  Whyte (1900).  Andrewes’s other works occupy eight volumes in the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology (1841-1854).  Of biographies we have those by H. Isaacson (1650), A. T. Russell (1863), R. L. Ottley (1894), and Dean Church’s essay in Masters in English Theology. See also W.  H. Frere, Lancelot Andrewes as a Representative of Anglican Principles (1898; Church Hist.  Soc. Publications, No. 44).


Source: 1911 encyclopedia.



Copyright © World Spirituality · All Rights Reserved