The origins and transformation of the nonjuror schism, 1670-1715 : illustrated by special reference to the career, writings and activities of Dr. George Hickes, 1642-1715
This thesis intends to show how some of the Laudian high church and high Tory clergy of the Restorian era were impelled to reject the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and its consequences for the church because of their close association with the anti-Exclusion policies of the crown in the later years of Charles II. Passive obedience, non-resistance and hereditary divine right were political theories based on scripture, the early church, the sufferings of the early martyrs and of Christ himself. The clergy, as a special class of educated professionals, could advance themselves significantly in their calling by preaching and writing in favour of the currently favourable political ideology of the later Stuarts. Fortified by the glorious deaths of King Charles the Martyr and Archbishop Laud, passive obedience and nonresistance were regarded as vital moral precepts of the Christian faith. The sufferings of the Church of England and its faithful confessors during the Great Rebellion had made anglicanism a martyr faith, passionately held. In this golden age of anglican patristic scholarship, the works of Ignatius of Antioch and Cyprian re-emphasized the conviction that episcopacy was of divine right and an essential part of Christ's church. Political opposition or religious nonconformity were alike considered as sinful and perverse.For the Church of England the double blows of James II's ungrateful treachery and the Revolution itself were shattering shocks. The minority of bishops and clergy who refused the new oaths and accepted deprivation regarded their removal as being as invalid as the deposition of James II. The consecration of Tillotson and the other Revolution 'intruders' caused the nonjuror bishops to go beyond the intended precedents of the Interregnum and to consecrate new bishops in secret. A great controversy was begun by the ousted nonjurors using high sacramental theology, eucharistic doctrine, the apostolic succession of bishops and priests, and the essential independence of the church from the state. The whole relationship of church and state since Henry VIII and Elizabeth was thus radically called in question, and the nonjurors developed a powerful attack on the complying 'Revolution church' more revolutionary than the Revolution itself.The career of George Hickes ideally illustrates the rise of a late restoration divine who strongly supported Charles II. He achieved eminence just before James II attacked the Anglican church's monopoly, defended the church strongly against the king's aggression and took an uncompromising stand against the Revolution settlement in church and state. A clandestine bishop and rigid high churchman of a logically hard, ruthless and consistent mind, Hickes outstandingly represented the nonjurors' position in ecclesiastical matters as well as Jacobitism. He finally opposed Henry Dodwell's return to the established church in 1710 and established his own leadership of the diehard rump of nonjurors and secured further episcopal consecrations to ensure the continuance of the nonjuror schism.