At the very moment that God quits Solomon's beautiful and mystical temple to "meet with sinne" in the human heart, George Herbert's "Sion" offers a cryptic, even riddling explanation: "Something there was, that sow'd debate." The "debate" that Herbert acknowledges and suppresses here and the "something" that causes it remain indeterminate. Why, we might ask, does Herbert refuse to assign this referent a specific meaning--the confrontation between Christ and the Jews over the meaning of the temple in the New Testament, for example? The answer to this question, I believe, is that the debate was far from over. In fact, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the "temple" was an increasingly charged term, often in use in the controversial disputes between Roman Catholics, Puritans, and Conformists over the origins of the English Church. Each group based its understanding of the true church on diverging interpretations of the "temple" in St. John's Apocalypse, analyzing this text with the specific intention of finding the prophetic and ecclesiastical design of their church in early Christian history. For this reason, the language of controversy, perhaps more than that of devotion, provides insight into "something" we have yet to understand: in it we begin to glimpse the political design of Herbert's Temple.
The Roman Catholic position in this controversy was that only their church could be traced to the apostles. Consequently, the question they repeatedly asked English Churchmen was "'Where was your church before [Martin] Luther,"' a question designed to force English Churchmen into admitting their "newfangledness" and thus their departure from the true church? To this John Foxe responded by turning to the very passage that Herbert hints at in "Sion," the debate over the temple: "Of this church meant Christ, speaking of the temple which he would raise again the third day; and yet after that the Lord was risen, he showed not himself to the world, but only to his elect, which were but few." Citing the tendency of"worldly Jews" to equate the physical structure of the temple with the true church, Foxe argued that Christ's manifestation of himself as "temple" was evident only to the elect. The Jewish question about the "temple" could thus be seen to foreshadow the Roman question about "the Church before Luther," implicating this later group in the same blindness and persecution carried out by their precursors.
Nevertheless, Foxe answered the Roman question by making the "Church before Luther" visible to contemporary eyes, arguing that the true church, in fact, had never been entirely hidden. Identifying himself with the early Christian historian Eusebius, Foxe follows his predecessor in bringing the truth out into the light. His account parallels Eusebius' chronicle as he outlines the liberation from persecution provided by his own Constantine, Elizabeth. Tracing "the descent of the right church. . . from the apostles' time: which, hitherto, in most part of histories hath been lacking," he uncovers the line of succession leading from the martyrs of the persecuted Church to the visible "temple" of Elizabeth. However, Foxe warns, the Church must not lose "that which they have obtained, but. . . proceed in all faithfulness, to build and keep up the house and temple of the Lord, to the advancing of his glory, and our everlasting comfort in him." In rebuilding the temple, true believers must remember that they remain in open conflict with the false church of Rome, a corrupt institution that will, in the apocalypse, be destroyed.
The paradox at the center of Foxe's history--that the marginalized, previously hidden church of martyrs had become the visible and reformed Church of England--was a point upon which the Presbyterians quickly focused as they too attempted to recover the true church from Christian antiquity. Rereading Eusebius through the filter of the true church represented in Revelation, Thomas Brightman argued that this church was not coterminous with the Caesaro-papal structure visible during the reign of Constantine, but with the Presbyterian believers hidden inside of it: "The Temple then that is onely measured, doth declare that the Church was to be brought into great straits, to be limited with small bounds, and to be altogether remooved from the eyes of men." The small group of believers hidden within the Temple was obscured by the vast majority of those who worshipped in the visible and corrupt outer court: "The Company of inhabitants, of those that did flocke daily to the Temple, was huge, but howe fewe were the Preists, that were with in meane while, to that innumerable multitude that was without? The same proportion should there be of fained Christians, to the true and kindly Cittizens." What drove this group into hiding was the sin apparent in the temple's visible structure--a sin recorded, according to Thomas Brightman, in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History: "And indeed the Holy Ghost most wisely providing to meete with your crafty conveniances so guided the hands and pennes of those that wrote about that time, when Antichrist should peere & peepe out, that they should give the name of a Temple, even to the holy places of the Christian assemblies, that so it might be made every way evident, that [the Antichrist] sitteth in the Temple of God." According to Bright-man's evaluation, the Antichrist in Constantine's temple was currently infiltrating the English Church through its visible episcopal hierarchy, false doctrine, "Romish" ceremonies, and idolatrous ornamentation. In critiquing these outward forms, Brightman turned Foxe's celebration of the church in history into a prophetic indictment: "In our Realme of Englande, the matter is more cleare. . . [The] outward regiment is as yet for the greatest parte Antichristian & Romish. In the degrees of cleargie men, in elections and ordinations, & the whole administration of the Church-censures, the which temperings of pure doctrine and Romish regiment maketh the lukewarmness, whereby we stand just in the middest between cold and hott, betweene the Romish and the Reformed Churches." As John Milton would later do, Brightman challenged the men of the English Church to discard the "Romish regiment" of episcopacy, taking for themselves the apostolic model found in the Presbyterian churches on the Continent.
Conformist churchmen responded to this attack in a number of ways. Some of them reinforced Foxe's perspective regarding the "relative invisibility" of the true Church by arguing that the Presbyterians were, like the Jews before them, confusing the visible Church which they wished to establish with the invisible true Church of the elect. Because the true Church was comprised of all God's elect throughout history, its membership was impossible to tally. And because no one could see into the hearts and souls of its membership, those who were truly "elect" could not be discerned by the human eye. Both as a group and as individuals, then, the elect could not be singled out, making the notion of an elect, visible Church a contradiction in terms.
Bishop James Ussher was one of the many voices articulating this position. Focusing on Foxe's paradigm of the temple once again, he attempted to unpack the meaning of "relative invisibility": "If you demand then, where was God's Temple all this while? the answer is at hand. There where antichrist sate. Where was Christ's people? even under Antichrist's priests." Acknowledging with Brightman that "God's Temple" was found in close proximity to the place "where antichrist sate," Ussher refused to separate it by locating it in a hidden inner realm. Even at this early point in time, he argued, the true church might be considered "visible" or "invisible," depending on who was doing the observing: "The Christian Church was brought unto a lower ebbe, than was the Jewish Synagogue in the dayes of our saviour Christ. . . And yet a man at that time might have seene the true servants of God standing together in the self-same Temple: which might well be accounted as the House of the Saints in regard of the one, so a Denne of Theeves in respect of the other." By noting that the "true servants of God" were "visible" in the temple, Ussher undercut Brightman's reading of a "hidden" Presbyterian church. True believers could be found in the church at all times, he argued, for the doctrinal "foundation" of the church had never changed: "There we doubt not but our Lord had his subjects, and we our fellow servants. For we bring in no new Faith, nor no new Church. That which in the time of the ancient Fathers was accounted to be truely and properly Catholick in the succeeding ages hath evermore been preserved." As Ussher saw it, the patristic writings of the Christian church revealed the presence of pure "protestant" doctrine persisting despite "Romish" corruption. Both the English Church and the Church of Rome could therefore be traced to the same foundation, but because the Church of Rome had departed from this foundation, both it and the papal Antichrist sitting within it would eventually be destroyed. In taking this position, Ussher opposed William Laud and the increasingly pacifistic attitude toward Rome prevailing in the Stuart church.
As early as 1603, Laud had turned away from Foxe's understanding of the "relative invisibility" of the true Church as well as his apocalyptic interpretation of history. That year, Laud and George Abbot, both future archbishops of the English Church, had disagreed over the "hidden" proto-protestant line of descent that Abbot then identified as one of the Church's possible origins. Out of fear that this potentially subversive "line" would threaten episcopal succession, Laud flatly rejected it. And later, when Abbot returned to this proto-protestant line of descent in his Treatise of the Perpetuall Visibilitie (1624), Laud characterized it as "dangerous to the Church." He determined to replace Foxe's notion of "relative invisibility" with the visible episcopal succession of the orthodox national church.
Consequently, the ideal model for the English Church became the visible temple of Constantine. It was to this model that Lancelot Andrewes directed his audience in a sermon before King James: "But if [the Church] be so happy as to find the days of peace, Moses and Constantine are patterns for the days of peace; they have a Moses then, from that time forward they must give ear to the trumpet. In a word, none can seek to have the congregation so called as before Constantine, but they must secretly and by implication confess they are a persecuted Church as that then was, without a Moses, without a Constantine." In Andrewes's view, Foxe's "persecuted Church"--because it could be understood only "secretly and by implication"--was not an acceptable "pattern" for the present Church. In highlighting the English Church's "visible" episcopal succession and history, however, Andrewes blurred the clearly drawn boundaries between the English Church and the Church of Rome, a position that Ussher and other Conformists found it impossible to accept.
During the 1620s and 1630s, Foxe's interpretation of the "relative invisibility" of the elect within the temple was losing ground, particularly as Laud gained political power. By 1629, Laud was beginning to suppress Calvinist sermons, to regulate religious lecturers, to turn afternoon sermons into catechizings, and in certain cases, to alter the "altar," the placement of the communion table within churches. In this political climate and, I will argue, in response to this political climate, Herbert constructed The Temple.
Like Foxe, Brightman, Ussher, and Andrewes, Herbert turned back to St. John's Apocalypse and Eusebius' Ecclesiastical Histories for his own ecclesiastical model. But while Foxe had identified Eusebius as the historian of ecclesiastical persecution, Bright-man, as the recorder of ecclesiastical corruption, and Andrewes, as the affirmer of ecclesiastical succession, Herbert saw Eusebius as the architect of the first Christian temple in antiquity. In book 10 of The Ancient Ecclesiasticall Histories, Herbert found a model for the Church of his time, a model that would enable him to respond to the growing controversy over the invisible or visible nature of the temple itself. By observing Herbert's use of this subtext, we are able to understand the process of intertextual transformation as described by Thomas Greene: "When an allusion is organic rather than ornamental, when it is structurally necessary, then it begins to sketch a miniature myth about its own past, or rather about its emergence from that past. When in other words intertextuality becomes self-conscious, it tends to become etiological, and we are able to analyze the function of the subtext in terms of a specific retrospective vision." In this particular instance, Eusebius' temple enables Herbert to sketch "a miniature myth about the past" of the English Church by providing him with a historical model for the British Church itself. At the same time, this ancient structure allows Herbert to mark the British Church's "emergence from that past" and so to acknowledge the various "debates" confronting the present Church. Consequently, by creating The Temple in the temporal gap between a lost ideal and the present Church, Herbert reveals more than his nostalgia for the past; he speaks eloquently as a prophet and a peacemaker to the issues dividing his own seventeenth-century audience.
What we find in book 10 of Eusebius' Ancient Ecclesiastical Histories, then, is a miniature outline of The Temple, complete with dedication, church-porch, internal temple design, and temple furniture. The marginal glosses of Meredith Hanmer's English translation (1585) neatly signpost these divisions, not only identifying "the church" and "the porch," but also noting the rather lengthy "space between the Sanctuary & the porche." Described here are the temple's most salient architectural features--its baptismal "Welspringes cockes or cunditts," "gates," "Porches," "Windowes," and even its "floore or pavement."
The relationship between the various parts of Eusebius' Temple is more than architectural, however. The different parts of this edifice actually engage in edification--in building up one another:
Some he hath firmly set about the inner court with chiefe pillars, after the manner of a quadrangle and to the chiefe Bulwarks he hath referred the scripture of the four Evangelists. Again some he hath coupled with fortresses on either side about the princely palace, which are yet as novices in the faith. They both increase and prosper, yet set farther off from the inward contemplation of the faithful. Of these he hath taken the incorrupt soules, purified with the divine fountain after the manner of gold, and others hath he set up with pillars, far mightier than those outward, out of the inner writings of mystical Scripture and sett them forth lively and to minister light. The whole Temple he adorneth with a single, mighty gateway, even the praise of the one and only God, the universal King.
In Eusebius's temple, the spiritual aptitude of each individual coincides with a clearly defined architectural space. Each, then, is "coupled" to all of the others, yet individually distinct, offering both communal and individual spiritual insight.
In The Temple, Herbert follows this same architectural pattern by creating a wide range of personae who speak not only as individuals but also in response to a larger Christian community. Consequently, the speaker of "The Church-porch" catechizes "novices" who lack wisdom and remain "farther off," while those within "The Church" have fuller musical range and contribute new architectural dimensions to The Temple itself. Some, like the speakers of "The Sacrifice," "Christmas," "Lent," and "Easter Wings," are just as Eusebius describes them, "chiefe Bulwarks," reviewing central aspects of gospel narrative and important "holy-days" in the Church calendar. Others are slowly baptized into fuller knowledge, like the speakers of "Redemption," "Jordan I and II," "Affliction," and "The Collar." Still others "minister light" (as Eusebius hints) by exploring the demands of sacred office in "Aaron," "The Priesthood," and "The Windows." Although all are not priests in Herbert's Temple, all are certainly teachers, and so all are engaged in the process of edification.
While the structural parallels that Herbert draws between the Eusebian temple and his own allow him to reinforce the importance of a visible, patristic "pattern" for the present Church, Herbert does not stop there; he subtly remodels this ancient structure to respond to contemporary controversies occurring in the wake of Laud--controversies over temple dedications, kneeling, preaching, holy days, altar placement, and divine service. Through a temple which is at once physical and metaphysical, visible and invisible, earthly and heavenly, Herbert demonstrates that the institutional, visible church prepares its membership to enter into the "relatively invisible" body of believers who have edified the Church throughout the ages.
The tripartite structure of Herbert's Temple thus manifests three different but related responses to the debates of the seventeenth-century church. In "The Church-porch," Herbert opens the temple to everyone, his initial speaker introducing those who enter to the rules of the visible church; in "The Church," he reveals the means by which the "relatively invisible" elect engage in the far more mystical activity of building up one another; and in "The Church Militant," he traces the apocalyptic nature of redemptive history. In each case, Herbert adopts an inclusive, conformist stance which seeks to heal the widening breaches in the English Church by subtly calling the exclusionary attitudes of both Laudians and Puritans into question.
Consequently, something of the disjunction between the past Eusebian ideal and the present British Church emerges in the opening lines of Herbert's "Dedication":
Lord, my first fruits present themselves to thee;
Yet not mine neither: for from thee they came,
And must return. Accept of them and me,
And make us strive, who shall sing best thy name.
Turn their eyes hither, who shall make a gain:
Theirs, who shall hurt themselves or me, refrain.
("The Dedication to The Temple," lines 1-6.)
While in the ancient work, a second "Zorobabel" dedicates a temple with joyful abandon, his audience responding with heartfelt "consent," Herbert's "Dedication" acknowledges an audience that is far more resistant. In this group capable of hurting "themselves or me," Herbert may hint, however briefly, at the Puritan fury over the dedication of church buildings and other seemingly "idolatrous" activities. To this he responds by invoking divine supervision. God himself must "turn their eyes" toward this structure or away from it, not only directing the gaze but also sanctioning the object of the gaze, poetic and ecclesiastical "dedications" alike.
A similar alteration is apparent in Herbert's revision of Eusebius's "church-porch." Clearly rejecting Brightman's puritanical vision in which the faithful have no dealings with the corrupt members in the "outer court," Herbert makes the "Porch" a place of gradual transformation. Reading Eusebius carefully, he identifies the pacifistic and purifying properties of the "porch" itself: "Salomon an earnest maintainer of Peace, and builder of this Temple hath brought [this] to passe, for such as yet want ye sacrifice and sprinklings done by water and the holy ghost." Having yet to undergo baptism, those who enter here lack a crucial sacrament of the spiritual life, that "sprinkling done by water and the holy ghost" that establishes peace with God. Herbert, however, makes the task of "maintaining Peace" still more inclusive as he attempts to mediate not only between Man and God but also between Laudians and Puritans. Directing his audience toward the "sprinklings" occurring in the ancient Eusebian cathedral, he makes "Perirrhanterium" the subtitle of his lengthy opening poem. This Greek term has troubled modern critics, since, in Stanley Stewart's words, "sprinkling holy water at the church door, or anywhere else, would have been neither common nor legal, because the use of holy water went out with the Reformation." But "Perirrhanterium" exemplifies what Michael Riffaterre calls a "connective," a word which calls attention to a text's intertext. The Greek term underscores its origin in Eusebius's Ancient Ecclesiastical Histories while illuminating the "sprinklings" occurring in the first Christian temple. By this means, Herbert questions recent Puritan attempts to excise supposedly "romish" practices from worship by highlighting the antiquity and purity of the acts themselves.
Just as Eusebius's "sprinklings" underscore for Herbert the unfallen "protestant" origins of purification rites, the lengthy Eusebian porch establishes the rules and demands of the spiritual life: "Them also who already are entred within the gates he suffreth not with foule and unwashed feete to drawe nighe unto the inner partes of the most holie places. For making a separation with greate distance betwene the Temple itselfe & the first entrance he hath beautified this place on everyside. The first exercise for such as enter yieldeth unto everyone beauty & brightnes to witt the washing of their hands and clensing of their body, but unto them that desire the knowledge of the first principles of our religion a fitt mansion place to continewe." Again following Eusebius's design, Herbert provides a structure "separat[ed] with great distance" from "The Church," as well as "a fitt mansion" where entering readers might be instructed in "the first principles." But his speaker also seeks to correct particular seventeenth-century errors by asserting a conformist position on a number of hotly contested ecclesiastical points. Initially, he appears to follow the Laudians in defining the church rather than the home or conventicle as sacred space:
Though private prayer be a brave designe,
Yet publick hath more promises, more love:
And love's a weight to hearts, to eies a signe.
We all are but cold suitours; let us move
Where it is warmest. Leave thy six and seven;
Pray with the most: for where most pray is heaven.
("The Church-porch," lines 397-402)
But in privileging "public" over "private prayer," Herbert refuses to describe the private meeting of "six and seven" as a hidden and potentially subversive activity as some of the Laudians were doing. Even Herbert's family friend,John Donne, had addressed this issue rather pointedly in a sermon of 1615: "So when these men pray in their Conventicles, for the confusion, and rooting out of Idolatry and Antichrist, they intend by their Idolatry, a Cross in Baptism; and by their Antichrist, a man in a Surpless; and not onely the persons, but the Authority that admits this Idolatry, and this Antichristianism. As vapors and winds shut up in Vaults, engender Earth-quakes; so these particular spirits in their Vault-Prayers, and Cellar-Service, shake the Pillars of State and Church." Herbert, however, highlights the benefits of public prayer rather than the dangers of private, arguing that its very visibility provides an evangelical "sign" to others of the heaven to be found on earth. By making the "visible" act sacra-mental--a means of transforming and redeeming those who participate in it--Herbert fills public prayer with the light and heat of reformation values. And he continues to readjust both Laudlan and Puritan perspectives in the next stanza:
When once thy foot enters the church, be bare.
God is more there, then thou: for thou art there
Onely by his permission. Then beware,
And make thy self all reverence and fear.
Kneeling ne're spoil'd silk stocking: quit thy state.
All equall are within the churches gate.
("The Church-porch," lines 403-8)
Realizing that some were entering church with their hats on and their heads covered, the speaker seeks to correct this behavior by reminding his readers that God fills the entire fabric of the temple, causing the divine presence to be "more there," more in the sacred, public space of the gathered Christian community than in the private space of the individual. Before this divine majesty, he asserts, one must kneel in reverence. Thus, the speaker clearly aligns himself not with the Puritans who considered kneeling "Romish," but with proto-Laudians like Andrewes who traced kneeling back to the Primitive Church: "They in the Scripture, they in the Primitive Church, did so, did 'bow.' And verily, He will not have us worship Him like elephants, as if we had no joints in our knees; He will have more honour of men, than of the pillars in the Church. He will have us 'bow the knees'; and let us 'bow' them in God's Name." Following Andrewes, the speaker emphasizes the importance of universal reverence before God, but he also subtly critiques the tendency of some Laudians to establish a stratified social structure within the Church--a tendency all too visible in the work of Giles Widdowes (1631): "Church order gives every one his convenient place, to superiors, superior places; to equalls, equal places; to inferiors, inferior places; to every church-necessary, a necessary place." In contrast to this perspective, the speaker reinforces the leveling effect of kneeling, noting that it places the "silk stockings" of wealth and privilege on the same ground with the woolen socks of the poor. Before the divine presence, he asserts, neither Puritan irreverence nor Laudian privilege has a place.
In the next stanza, the speaker takes up yet another contested issue: the debate over sermons and prayers. While the Puritans emphasized preaching and the Laudians emphasized prayers, Herbert's mentor, Lancelot Andrewes, had acknowledged both but clearly privileged the latter: "Yet, we see, by the frame of this text, [prayer] is the higher end; the calling on us by prophecy, is but that we should call on the Name of the Lord. All prophesying, all preaching, is but to this end." Herbert's speaker follows Andrewes in asserting that prayers are the true "end" of sermons and thus of higher priority:
Resort to sermons, but to prayers most:
Praying's the end of preaching. O be drest;
Stay not for th' other pin: why, thou has lost
A joy for it worth worlds. Thus hell doth jest
Away thy blessings, and extreamly flout thee,
Thy clothes being fast, but thy soul loose about thee.
("The Church-porch," lines 409-14)
Again the speaker underscores the extent to which the visible order of the Church contains hidden and divine operations. Noting that the "outer" and ceremonial aspects of church liturgy provide "inner" clothing for those in attendance, he suggests that the final "pin" of prayer holds the well-dressed soul together. Consequently, those who stay only for the first "pin" of the sermon--arriving late and leaving early as the Puritans some-[ times did--have a "loose" and unkempt soul In giving excessive value to preaching, they have failed to keep themselves internally ordered and are in danger of missing the joys of heaven on earth
In closing, the speaker of the porch moves beyond Laudian and Puritan arguments over sacred space, sermons, and worship to address the issue behind them. Now he asserts that refusing God because He does not take the appropriate form may be the most problematic activity of all since it makes Man and not God the arbiter of holiness: "The Jews refused thunder; and we, folly. / Though God do hedge us in, yet who is holy?" ("The Church-porch," lines 449-50). In posing the question "Who is holy?" to Laudians as well as Puritans, Herbert calls attention to the problematic nature of all such human evaluations, an attitude overwhelmingly evident in the self-righteous exclusivity of both groups. By attempting to circumscribe "holy" space, both have erred, for only God sets the ever inclusive, ever expanding boundaries on the sacred.
After establishing this insight into the problematic nature of holiness, "Superliminare" invites only those who long to be pure through the door. It is this longing that defines, for Herbert, the true Church of the elect--a longing that is "relatively invisible" to the human eye. The "repast" to be "tasted" here is similarly "mystical," a repast in which the Word is broken and offered anew for the entire spiritual community.
Inside the door of "The Church," then, Herbert appropriates a number of smaller architectural features from Eusebius's design, the "altar," "windowes," and "floore" made out of "marble stone." As in the case of "Perirrhanterium," these visible church furnishings allow Herbert to offer legitimate decodings of supposedly "Romish" architecture and terminology as he traces them to their unfallen origins in Christian antiquity?
"The Altar" is a clear case in point. The fact that Herbert builds it of stones suggests his hand in one of the hottest debates of the earlier seventeenth century. At a time when the Laudians were inciting Puritan anger by turning communion tables into altars (not only by placing them "altar-wise" but also by building them out of stone), Herbert creates an altar which incorporates both perspectives. Like the Laudian Richard Montagu, he turns back to Old Testament narrative and the Primitive Church to locate the "stone" for the altar itself--a material, in Montagu's view, that pre-dated "Romish" corruption: "These Altars were not of stone at first, untill the dayes of Constantine, that the Church came to have rest and peace; nor then frequently and in ordinarie churches, but in Cathedrall only or in great Cities. But of stone they were, it is certaine, and I prove it elsewhere, before that popery was heard in the world or in the Church of Rome itself." Herbert returns to the temple of Eusebius to locate the design for his altar. But he does not place the altar "in the middest" of the temple as Eusebius does, choosing rather to rear it at the door. In making this rather remarkable change, Herbert moves "The Altar" much closer to Thomas Brightman's "altar" in the temple of Revelation: "Nowe all the faithfull are said to worship in the Altar, because they place all their hope, and affiance in Christs death alone; which kind of sacifices belonge not onely to the Tribe of Levi; but as well to very truly godly one." Rejecting the Eaudian tendency to move the altar into the recesses of the Church--away from the people and closer to the priesthood--Herbert makes his "Altar" immediately accessible to "all the faithful." At the same time, by constructing a "visible" altar within the lines of the poem, Herbert undercuts the tendency of William Prynne and other Puritans to equate the physical altar with idolatry: "Christians have no other altars but Christ alone, who hath abolished all other altars, which are either heathenish,Jewish, or Popish, and not tolerable among Christians." Instead, Herbert's visible poetics points repeatedly to that shining "Other" to whom he dedicates his "altar," to that "high priest" standing just on the other side of the field of vision. In making what his audience cannot see as important as what they canzz he negotiates them toward a brokenness that makes wholeness possible, one that, like "The Altar" itself, unites "parts" framed by God into a communion of saints.
Consequently, both in the intertextual structure of The Temple and in individual poems, Herbert carries out a subtle political critique of the "Puritan" and "Laudian" positions. Hints of this "debate" are encoded in "Sion," the poem with which I open this essay. Here, Herbert appears to follow the Laudians in celebrating the external beauty of Solomon's temple. But instead of focusing on the temple's beauty and grandeur as the Laudians would do, he turns the "gold" and "embellished wood" into signs showing the hearts of the builders:
Lord, with what glorie wast thou serv'd of old,
When Solomons temple stood and flourished!
Where most things were of purest gold;
The wood was all embellished
With flowers and carvings, mysticall and rare:
All show'd the builders, crav'd the seeers [sic] care.
("Sion," lines 1-6)
Herbert's awed appreciation of the "glorie" of divine service undercuts the Puritan error of devaluing the physical space of the temple even as his shift toward the "mystical" inner realm reorients Laudian fears away from the threat of private subversion. His emphasis on the inner glory and reverence that the external beauty of the temple "shows" affirms both building and builder, incorporating Laudians as well as Puritans into his all-inclusive design.
This same series of spiritual and ecclesiastical reassessments occurs in the second stanza where Herbert shows God reacting to the debate over the temple by giving up his "ancient claim." Now, God moves inward, but not to escape the corrupt "Romish" structure as the Puritans had often argued. In fact, God enters to "meete with sinne" more directly, for He does not, as Milton later asserts, "prefer / Before all Temples the upright heart and pure." He prefers the far more problematic battleground of the sinful heart.
Thus, here as elsewhere in The Temple, divine "Architecture meets with sinne" rather than fleeing from it as God consigns himself to this space to transform its boundaries ("Sion," line 11), to make the very debate over holiness the subject of contestatory struggle. As the human and divine voices repeatedly cross one another in musical lines, Herbert makes a harmonic counterpoint of the Laudian and Puritan positions. What is heard in these voices is "musick for a King" ("Sion," line 24), music taking form in a living liturgical structure and therefore honoring-through choral exchange and dynamic interaction--divine and political authorities.
Eusebius's ancient temple is thus an ideal model for Herbert since it repeatedly blurs the boundaries between the Church on earth--in its social and political milieu--and the Church in heaven: "The chiefe tips and foreshewes spiritual of these do exceed al marvelous & miraculous things, the intellectual and theological patterns, to wit, the renewing & repairing of the devine and reasonable building in the souls." For Eusebius, the material temple is a "theological pattern" of the temple that cannot be seen, its outward renewal and repair a record of internal transformation. Thus, while he begins his description in book 10 by assigning the building of the temple to a particular historical moment, Eusebius closes by articulating the fact that the structure is also prophetic, pointing beyond itself to the hidden and eternal Church Triumphant.
Not surprisingly, it is with the Church Triumphant that the third division of The Temple has often been linked, but it is actually in the context of the political and historical debate over the temple that the poem gains its fullest meaning. In "The Church Militant" Herbert establishes the intertextual connection between his own structure and the "temples" described by Eusebius, Foxe, Ussher, and Brightman in their own interpretations of history? Following the example of these prophet-historians, Herbert concludes his work by seeking to complete Eusebius's design. He thus extends his vision beyond the temple itself to the overarching apocalyptic and historical contexts in which the structure was originally located.
The speaker of"The Church Militant" accordingly jumps the 1,260-year gap in time between Constantine's temple and the emergence of the English Church in the sixteenth century by hinting that the first prophetically records the advent of the second. This "mysterie," the speaker suggests, can be read in a "paper" torn out of"times great Chronicle" ("The Church Militant," lines 94-6):
Constantines British line meant this of old,
And did this mysterie wrap up and fold
Within a sheet of paper, which was rent
From times great Chronicle, and hither sent.
("The Church Militant," lines 93-6)
Through "Constantine's British line," Herbert's speaker manages to answer the question of the Church's status "before Luther." Like Ussher, he finds the true Church and its redemptive presence in various works of the past, including those of patristic antiquity: "Holy Macarius and great Anthonie / Made Pharoah Moses, changing th' historie" ("The Church Militant," lines 41-2). With Ussher and other conformist churchmen, this speaker carefully follows the movement of the Church through the Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Greek Churches up to and including the Roman Church of Constantine's reign. But he also traces Rome's gradual corruption of the Church's religious, political, and artistic life. Realizing that the pope continues to "sit in the temple" as a corrupt inversion of this ideal, the speaker suddenly loses the distance and objectivity that has informed his writing throughout. He reacts to the "Romish" threat in an immediate, almost visceral way, introducing himself, for the first and only time, into the action of his poem:
Sinne being not able to extirpate quite
The Churches here, bravely resolv'd one night
To be a Church-man too, and wear a Mitre:
The old debauched ruffian would turn writer.
I saw him in his studie, where he sate
Busie in controversies sprung of late.
("The Church Militant," lines 161-6)
It is as a "writer," of course, that Herbert's speaker confronts his "Romish" opponent, a confrontation that opens a window on Herbert himself and the "controversies sprung of late" in which he also participates. As Herbert was clearly aware, "anti-papal" prophecies were being suppressed during the seventeenth century as the king sought to contain anti-papal sentiment and to move towards greater conciliation with the Roman Church. Yet Herbert's speaker does not mince words: "As new and old Rome did one Empire twist; / So both together are one Antichrist" ("The Church Militant," lines 205-6). This candid evaluation may be the real reason why The Temple was almost denied publication in 1633. Certainly, Herbert's refusal to sanction the ecclesiastical and royal interests of the moment might well have created as much of a stir as his prophetic passage about America.
Despite this critique of Roman (and potentially Laudian) excess, Herbert's speaker declines to engage in the militant Puritan zeal of his contemporaries. Looking back rather than forward, he adopts a stance similar to the Laudians as he locates the "first" temple during "ancient times and purer years":
So though Sinne made his latter seat the better,
The latter Church is to the first a debter.
The second Temple could not reach the first:
And the late reformation never durst
Compare with ancient times and purer years;
But in the Jews and us deserveth tears.
("The Church Militant," lines 223-8)
Echoing Ezra 3:12, Herbert's speaker tearfully reminds his audience of the "temple" that has been lost to sight as he confronts the increasing darkness and division of his time. The end, he warns, is yet to come. The darkness will only deepen before the dawning sun/Son of divine judgment "appeares" to make all things new.
Repeatedly, then, The Temple reflects in its tripartite structure and in its individual poems the contemporary debate over Antichrist's presence in the temple, but with a peculiarly Herbertian twist. Because the temple always contains within it not only Christ but also "Antichrist," not only the "true Church" but also those pretenders who would displace it, "Sinne" can be found in a range of corrupt imitations that extend far beyond Rome itself. "Sinne" is paradoxically present in the Laudian desire to create sacred space as well as in the Puritan desire to "fix" internal purity. Thus, God enters site after site within The Temple, not because these places are "holy," but because they are not: in "The H. Communion" he conveys himself into the elements to meet "sinnes force and art" (line 12); in "Good Friday," he enters into the "ink and sinne" of the human heart to restore purity (line 18); in "The Star," he willingly dies to part sin and the human heart (line 24). By contesting all human representations of holiness, Herbert's God overcomes the very divisiveness that isolates and corrupts to make the life-giving movement "between" the site of divine presence.
I quote George Herbert's poem "Sion" from The Works of George Herbert, ed. F. E. Hutchinson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953). All future citations will be taken from this edition, and all citations of poetry will appear parenthetically in the text.
The debate which is "sown" highlights the dialogue that occurs when the tares are sown along with the wheat in Matthew 13:24-30, a passage often quoted in ecclesiastical controversies to indicate the difficulty of sorting out the "true" church from the "false." See Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, 2 vols. (1907; rprt. London:J. M. Dent and Sons, 1954), 1:288-9; and William Laud, The Works of. . . William Laud, 7 vols. (New York: AMS Press, 1975), 2:148. For further biblical references to the temple, see Sara William Hanley, "Temples in The Temple: George Herbert's Study of the Church," SEL 8, 1 (Winter 1968): 121-35; and Chana Bloch, Spelling the Word: George Herbert and the Bible (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1985), pp. 117-20, 131-3.
In essence, the "temple" became a site of heterodoxy as each group located their "church" within the "temple" in Revelation. James I, in his Paraphrase upon the Revelation, takes the same position as that of Bale and Foxe: "The Pope's empire is the outward part of the Temple; the true church is in Sancto Sanctorum, but under the persecution of these hypocrites for a certain space" (in Workes . . . of Prince James [London, 1616], pp. 7-73, 32). Other commentators of the period also compared "the visible church with parts of the Temple" (Paul Christianson, Reformers and Babylon: English Apocalyptic Visions from the Reformation to the Eve of the Civil War [Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1978], p. 96).
Although Amy M. Charles does not think Herbert chose The Temple as his title, few other scholars have taken this position. In my view, both this title and Herbert's three subtitles ("The Church-porch," "The Church," and "The Church Militant") can be read as a response to the controversy over the "true Church" taking place during the seventeenth century. For a thorough historical analysis of this controversy, see Anthony Milton, Reformed and Catholic: The Roman and Protestant Churches in English Protestant Thought, 1600-1640 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995); and "The Church of England, Rome, and the True Church: The Demise of a Jacobean Consensus," in The Early Stuart Church, 1603-42, ed. Kenneth Fincham (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1993), pp. 187-210. (The Early Stuart Church, 1603-42 hereafter cited as ESC.) For Charles's view, see her Life of George Herbert (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1977), pp. 185-6.
Interpretations of the "temple" became even more specific in the ecclesiastical debates taking place between "Puritans" and Laudians. Quoting Thomas Cartwright, Richard Bancroft characterized what he considered a particularly "Puritan" way of reading: "Maister Cartwright affirmeth, that if the now Lord Arch-bishop of Canterbury had read the ecclesiasticall stories, hee shoulde have founde easily the [Presbyterian] Eldership most flourishing in Constantine's time" (A Survay of the Pretended Holy Discipline [1593; rprt. New York: Da Capo Press, 1972], p. 383). And Laudians made the same move. According to Peter Lake, "A variety of authors cited scriptural texts on both the temple and tabernacle under the Old Testament as well as passages from Revelations [sic] and the Apocalypse on the practices of the church triumphant in order to justify both general Laudian positions on the church as the house of God and the beauty of holiness as well as more specific Laudian and conformist practices like kneeling in prayer, worshiping and bowing towards the altar or bowing at the name of Jesus" ("The Laudian Style: Order, Uniformity and the Pursuit of the Beauty of Holiness in the 1630s," in ESC, pp. 161-85, 183).
Until quite recently, most critics followed Leah Sinanoglou Marcus in believing that "in The Temple. . . doctrinal disputation has no place" (Childhood and Cultural Despair: A Theme and Variations in Seventeenth-Century Literature [Pittsburgh: Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1978], p. 100.) Now, however, critics have begun to recognize the extent to which Herbert responds to the social and political realities of his time. See, for example, Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth, "The Politics of The Temple: 'The British Church' and 'The Family'" GHJ8, 1 (Fall 1984): 1-15; Sidney Gottlieb, "The Social and Political Backgrounds of Herbert's Poetry," in "The Muse's Commonweale": Poetry and Politics in the Seventeenth Century, ed. Summers and Pebworth (Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1988), pp. 107-18; John N. Wall, Transformations of the Word: Spenser Herbert, Vaughan (Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1988); Debora Kuller Shuger, Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics, and the Dominant Culture (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990), pp. 91-120; Michael C. Schoenfeldt, Prayer and Power: George Herbert and Renaissance Courtship (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991); James Doelman, "The Contexts of George Herbert's Musae Responsoriae," GHJ 15, 2 (Spring 1992): 42-54; Christopher Hodgkins, Authority, Church, and Society in George Herbert: Return to the Middle Way (Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1993); and Harold Toliver, George Herbert's Christian Narrative (University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1993).
The enigmatic structure of The Temple has been discussed in terms of meditation, protestant theology, catechizing, architecture, manuscript editions, music, and, most recently, in terms of its disunity. Not until now have we viewed it in terms of an ecclesiastical controversy occurring during the seventeenth century. See Louis L. Martz, The Poetry of Meditation: A Study in English Religious Literature of the Seventeenth Century (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1954), pp. 288-320; Stanley Fish, The Living Temple: George Herbert and Catechizing (Berkeley: Univ. of California Presa, 1978), pp. 137-73; Barbara Kiefer Lewalski, Protestant Poetics and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Lyric (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1979), pp. 287-9; John David Walker, "The Architectonics of George Herbert's The Temple," ELH29, 3 (September 1962): 289-305; Annabel M. Endicott [Patterson], "The Structure of George Herbert's Temple. A Recon-sideration," UTQ 34, 3 (April 1965): 226-37; Valerie Carnes, "The Unity of George Herbert's The Temple: A Reconsideration," ELH 35, 4 (December 1968): 505-26; Kathleen Lynch, "The Temple: 'Three Parts Vied and Multiplied,'" SEL 29, 1 (Winter 1989): 139-55; and Shuger, "The Structure of The Temple," in Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990), pp. 91-119.
Peter Milward, Religious Controversies of the Jacobean Age: A Survey of Printed Sources (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1978), p. 208. In chap. 6 of Reformed and Catholic, "Visibility, Succession, and the Church before Luther," Anthony Milton focuses exclusively on the question of the Church's status before the Reformation (pp. 270-321). Milward identifies this question as not only present throughout the seventeenth century but also as prompting the "final controversy of [James's] reign" (p. 208). In addition to those Milward cites, a variety of major theologians attempt to answer this question, including John Foxe, "The Prefaces," The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, 8 vols. (New York: AMS Press, 1965), l:iii-xxxvi, xix-xx; Hooker, 1:291; Thomas Bilson, The True Difference betweene Christian Subjection and Unchristian Rebellion (1585; rprt. New York: Da Capo Press, 1972), p. 645;John Donne, "A Sermon of Commemoration of the Lady Danvers," in The Sermons of John Donne, ed. Evelyn M. Simpson and George R. Potter, 10 vols. (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1956), 8:61-93, 73-4; Patrick Forbes, A Learned Commentary upon the Revelation of Saint John (Middelburg: Richard Schilders, 1614), p. c; Thomas Brightman, A Revelation of the apocalyps: that is, the apocalyps of S. John (Amsterdam, 1611), p. 291; and A Revelation of the Revelation that is Revelation (Amsterdam, 1615), p. 351. Subsequent references to Brightman's works will be to A and R, respectively.
As Anthony Milton points out, this question prompted responses which divided the Church--apparently part of the Romanists' ploy (Catholic and Reformed, p. 271).
For an excellent analysis of Foxe's position, see Jane Facey, "John Foxe and the Defence of the English Church," in Protestantism and the National Church in Sixteenth-Century England, ed. Peter Lake and Maria Dowling (London: Crook Helm, 1987), pp. 162-92.
In his first edition, Foxe makes this series of connections between Eusebius and himself ("Dedication to Queen Elizabeth," in Actes and Monuments of these latter perillous dayes, touching matters of the church [London: John Day, 1563], n.p.).
Because Constantine's mother was traditionally believed to be British, Constantine's lineage became a favorite genealogical resource for Renaissance historians. Elizabethan and Jacobean scholars refer to Constantine repeatedly, linking the emperor first with Elizabeth and then with James. As Patrick Collinson indicates, this "almost mythical Constantine ... is supposed to have supplied all that was needed from antiquity to bolster a polity which attributed so much to the benevolent initiative of the godly prince" ("If Constantine, Then Also Theodosius: St. Ambrose and the Integrity, of the Elizabethan Ecclesia Anglicana," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 30, 2 [April 1979]: 205-29, especially p. 208).
As Peter Lake argues, the Presbyterians and the conformists were agreed on the importance of early church history, but their interpretations were remarkably different: "the iure divino apologists for episcopacy made rather greater play with arguments drawn from the Fathers and church history than did the presbyterians, but that was because both the Fathers and the history of the church seemed to support their claims that the church had not been governed other than by bishops from the time of the apostles until the Reformation. Such a claim was scarcely open to presbyterians, for whom the dominance of the early church by episcopacy provided sure evidence of the presence and gradual rise to power of Antichrist" ("Presbyterianism: The Idea of a National Church and the Argument from Divine Right," in Protestantism and the National Church, ed. Peter Lake and Dowling [London: Crook Helm, 1987], pp. 193-224, 208-9).
Brightman, R, p. 351.
Brightman, R, p. 353.
In Against Bellarmine, The Confuting of that Counterfaite AntiChrist (Amsterdam, 1615; hereafter AB), Thomas Brightman argues that the church goes "within" at the very moment that the papal "Antichrist" takes up residence in the visible Church, a moment Eusebius manages prophetically to record (p. 738). That Eusebius bears witness to this remarkable division between the corrupt Church and the true Church, the corrupt "outer court" and the true "inner temple," appears elsewhere in Puritan polemic. See Peter Lake, Moderate Puritans and the Elizabethan Church (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1982), pp. 250-1.
Brightman, AB, p. 739.
Brightman traces the corruption in a series of ways: "The doctrine was shamefully defiled in many heads of it, reliques began to be in account, the Temples to be oversumptuously decked, all kinds of superstition began to grow ... Church dignities were augmented, all thinges being diligently sought for, that might rather serve for pompe, then for truth" (R, p. 47).
Brightman, R, p. 132.
By the 1640s this interpretation had gained parliamentary support. According to John Morrill, "[T] he threat to the protestant foundations of the Church of England was so great, and the penetration so deep, that remedial action was insufficient. Only the total demolition of the existing edifice, only the sterilization of the site and the erection of a new Temple could protect the nation from Antichrist" ("The Attack on the Church of England in the Long Parliament, 1640-2," in History, Society, and the Churches, p. 108).
In Peter Lake's words, "[T]he claim that the presbyterians confused Christ's spiritual government of the invisible church with their own government of the visible church" was at the core of "conformist polemic." However, the Laudians, like the Presbyterians, began to argue for their own "visible" episcopalian church as they attempted to validate the iure divino case of the bishops; both had inflexible, diametrically opposed positions regarding church structure ("Presbyterianism," p. 215). Anthony Milton discusses this issue in even more detail than Lake in Catholic and Reformed, pp. 278-321.
See Anthony Milton, "Demise of a Jacobean Consensus," p. 189.
James Ussher, A Briefe Declaration of the Universalitie of the Church of Christ, preached 20 June 1624 (London, 1687), p. 29.
The terms are paradoxically employed since the Presbyterian reformers use the "invisible" group in the temple to sanction a "visible" Presbyterian discipline in the seventeenth-century church while the Laudians and conformists use the "visible" episcopalian temple as a means of including the "invisible" elect throughout history.
Ussher, p. 29.
Ussher, p. 27.
Moreover, outside of the temple of the Apocalypse, the true Church could be discerned in the Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in the South as well as the Greek Christians in the East. Indeed, a wide variety of Protestant churches could be located before Luther's time which had no connection with Rome. James Ussher, De Successione, in The Whole Works of ... James Ussher, 17 vols. (Dublin, 1847-64), 2:494-5.
Anthony Milton, Catholic and Reformed, pp. 302-10. Milton notes that Ussher's argument is in keeping with that of John Prideaux and Archbishop George Abbot, who similarly argued that the true Church was visible in the Greek churches and would have continued in time if neither the Protestant Churches nor the Church of Rome had ever come into being.
Apparently, Laud read Abbot's Treatise of the Perpetuall Visibilitie and Succession of the True Church (1624) and showed it to Buckingham with a warning of "what was like to ensue upon it." He had a conference with King James the very next day in which it became clear that Laud saw it as a "dangerous tract." See Anthony Milton, Catholic and Reformed, p. 302 n. 159, and Laud, Works, 3:145.
Anthony Milton argues that Laud misrepresented Abbot's position since Abbot argued for the visibility of the true Church within Rome and other churches of the East and South, making the proto-Protestant line of descent one of a number of possibilities. See Catholic and Reformed, pp. 302-3. Nicholas Tyacke comments on this confrontation as well in "Archbishop Laud," in ESC, pp. 51-70, 57.
Lancelot Andrewes, The Works of Lancelot Andrewes, 11 vols. (New York: AMS Press, 1967), 5:166.
Laud began his presidency of St. John's College, Oxford, in 1611 and was eventually elected vice-chancellor of Oxford in 1630. He was appointed Bishop of St. David's in 1621, Bishop of London in 1628, and "promised ... [the position of Archbishop of] Canterbury in 1626--when Abbot still had seven years to live" (Tyacke, p. 65).
Tyacke, p. 67. Fincham notes many of the same policies in Prelate as Pastor: The Epsicopate of James 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), pp. 239-40, but Kevin Sharpe's view of Laud is that he did not rigidly enforce either the altar policy or others attributed to him (The Personal Rule of Charles I [New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1992], p. 333).
In her essay "'By this Book': Parishioners, the Prayer Book, and the Established Church," Judith Maltby locates George Herbert within the conformist wing of the Church, describing his advocacy of auricular confession, good works, and administering the sacrament to the ill (ESC, pp. 115-37, 122).
Translator Kirsopp Lake notes this fact in Eusebius: The Ecclesiastical History, 2 vols. (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1977), 2:421 n.
Thomas Greene, The Light in Troy: Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1982), pp. 17-8.
Although Herbert knew Eusebius's Auncient Ecclesiasticall Histories in Greek, the work was available to a readership in English, having been translated by Meredith Hanmer and published repeatedly--in 1577, 1585, 1607, 1619, and 1636. Throughout this article I will be citing book 10 of Eusebius's Auncient Ecclesiasticall Histories ([London: Thomas Vautrollier, 1585], pp. 189-202), a text at the Huntington Library.
Eusebius, p. 202.
Julian Davies discusses the extent to which Reformation scholars as well as Laudians turned back to the patristics, employing these writers to stress the inherent holiness of place and object. There were, of course, distinctions between the two groups: "[T] he Laudian sought in patristics the arbitration of Scripture and tradition, while the reformed sought through them their confirmation." Herbert is doubtless closer to the Reformation scholars than to the Laudians. See The Caroline Captivity of the Church: Charles I and the Remoulding of Anglicanism, 1625-41 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 52. Davies goes on to discuss the extent to which patristic saturation within the universities "caused a more pronounced emphasis upon the visibility and catholicity of the historical Church, upon the liturgy, and a deeper sacramental theology, all salient features of the Laudian renaissance" (p. 53). As I argue here, however, patristic texts allowed Herbert to pursue a Reformation agenda and, at the same time, to maintain his conformist stance and sacramental vision.
Eusebius, p. 189.
Eusebius, p. 190.
For these two positions, see Thomas Cartwright, A Christian Letter of Certaine English Protestants (1599; rprt. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969), pp. 3-49; and William Laud, A Speech concerning Innovations in the Church (1637; rprt. New York: Da Capo Press, 1971), pp. 1-77. For an excellent analysis of Laudianism, see Peter Lake's "The Laudians and the Argument from Authority," in Court, Country, and Culture: Essays in Early Modern British History in Honor of Perez Zagorin, ed. Bonnelyn Young Kunze and Dwight D. Brautigam (Rochester NY: Univ. of Rochester Press, 1992), pp. 149-76; and Peter Lake, "The Laudian Style."
Stanley Stewart, George Herbert (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986), p. 86.
Michael Riffaterre, "Compulsory Reader Response: The Intertextual Drive," in Intertextuality: Theories and Practices, ed. Michael Worton and Judith Still (Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1990), pp. 56-78, 58. Riffaterre argues that "obscure or incomplete utterance[s] ... are both the problem, when seen from the text, and the solution to that problem when their other, intertextual side is revealed."
Eusebius, p. 190.
See "The Church-porch," lines 403-44, and Hooker's argument with the Puritans regarding kneeling, preaching, and lengthy praying (2:104-60). See also Peter Lake's analysis of Laudianism in "The Laudian Style."
John Donne, The Sermons of John Donne, ed. Evelyn M. Simpson and George R. Potter, 10 vols. (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1953), 5:219.
Peter Lake identifies this tendency "in the hands of some Laudians" who used the "motif" of the stratified congregation "to establish an elaborately variegated vision of the social body of the church ... These were defined in terms of their greater or lesser proximity to the altar and served both to express and enforce certain differences in status among the lay members of the Church" ("The Laudian Style," p. 177).
Giles Widdowes, The Schismatical Puritan (Oxford, 1631), F1v.
Proto-Laudians like John Buckeridge and Andrewes identified the external act as an extension of internal devotion. As Buckeridge put it, "First, internal Adoration, that is, the devotion of the heart, and inward worship; and next outward worship, that is Prostration, falling downe, or bending the body, and kneeling" ("A Sermon ... Touching Prostration and Kneeling, preached before his Majestie at Whitehall, 22 March 1617," in A Discourse concerning Kneeling at the Communion [London, 1618], p. 11).
During the 1630s, the requirement that the liturgy be read before each lecture or sermon placed increased burdens on all involved, whether the nonconformist lecturer, the parson, or the congregation. As a consequence, "gadding" to sermons became a national pastime and explained the decreased attendance in some parishes as well as late arrivals in others. On this issue Davies comments, "Some attended evening prayer in their own parishes and then gadded to the evening prayer in another. Alternatively some went to a different parish to hear the sermon, but then returned to their own in time for evening prayer" (p. 149). Interestingly, arriving late was also the tendency of some nobility, as Herbert notes: "If there be any of the gentry or nobility of the Parish, who somtimes [sic] make it a piece of state not to come at the beginning of service with their poor neighbours, but at midprayers, both to their own loss, and of theirs also who gaze upon them ... [the parson] by no means suffers it" (A Priest to the Temple, pp. 223-90, 232).
In one of the earliest and finest books on George Herbert, Joseph H. Summers establishes the importance of "order" to his poetry. See "The Conception of Form," in George Herbert: His Religion and His Art (Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1954), pp. 73-94, especially 83-4.
For a discussion of the controversy over the spatial placement of the altar, see Francis Yates, Buildings, Faith, and Worship (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), pp. 31-2, and for an excellent analysis of various contemporary contexts for "The Altar," see Thomas B. Stroup, "'A Reasonable, Holy, and Living Sacrifice': Herbert's 'The Altar,'" ELWIU2, 2 (1975): 149-63. Stroup argues that the altar is "best understood as a liturgy for the dedication of the Church's altar" (p. 150), a reading that reinforces my sense of "The Altar" as a ceremonial site in the Eusebian cathedral. Kathleen Lynch, in "George Herbert's Holy 'Altar,' Name and Thing," traces in some detail much of the contemporary controversy surrounding the "altar" (GHJ 17, 1 [Fall 1993]: 41-60).
As Fincham notes, Laud's patron, Richard Neile, "permitted the conversion of the cathedral communion table into a stone altar" in Durham Cathedral (Prelate as Pastor, p. 239). This was only one of several other "conversions."
Richard Montagu, Appello Caesarem: A Just Appeale from two Unjust informers (1625; rprt. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1972), p. 286. George Herbert sat on the parliamentary committee that reviewed Montagu's work, so he was certainly familiar, though not in agreement, with Montagu's position (Lynch, "Holy 'Altar,'" p. 48).
Eusebius, p. 190.
Brightman, A, p. 353.
William Prynne, A Quenche-Coale or a Briefe Disquisition and Inquirie, in what place of the Church or Chancell the Lords Table ought to be situated, especially when the sacrament is administered (n.p., 1637), title page.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, bk. 1, lines 17-8 in John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (Indianapolis: Odyssey Press, 1957).
Richard Strier states the contrary opinion: "Nothing more strongly distinguishes Herbert from a thinker like Richard Hooker" who "sees no problem with Solomon's temple" (Love Known: Theology and Experience in George Herbert's Poetry [Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1983], p. 183). Shuger and Hodgkins similarly identify Herbert's emphasis on inwardness in "Sion" with a movement away from ecclesiastical structures. See Shuger, p. 106, and Hodgkins, pp. 174-5.
Hooker points to the temple in book 10 of Eusebius (2:50 n. 1)--the same model I believe Herbert "copies"--to argue that temples "built unto God's glory" should be beautiful (2:50). Later he questions Thomas Cartwright's assessment that the singing of psalms "'is not commendable'" by contending that the music "interchangeably" voiced by God and man unites all in perfect harmony (2:149 n. 1, 2:149).
Eusebius, p. 201.
Most critics have interpreted "The Church Militant" in order to identify its relationship to The Temple. Two have focused expressly on the poem as prophetic history, however. See Raymond Anselment, "'The Church Militant': George Herbert and the Metamorphoses of Christian History," HLQ 41, 4 (1978): 299-316 and Kenneth Alan Hovey, "'Wheel'd about ... into Amen': 'The Church Militant' on Its Own Terms," GHJ 10, 1-2 (Fall 1986-Spring 1987): 71-84.
Herbert doubtless draws on a number of church histories, past and present, in writing this poem. He considers Eusebius's Ecclesiastical Histories, Orosius's Seven Books against the Pagans, and Foxe's Acts and Monuments, to name a few. But he also may draw on Luther's interpretation of prophecy, which, according to Katherine Firth, "allowed historical significance to the prophecies in only two limited periods: the early Church before Constantine and his present age" (The Apocalyptic Tradition in Reformation Britain, 1530-1645 [Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979], p. 11).
Christopher Hill, Anthony Milton, and David Norbrook all discuss the suppression of apocalyptic commentary during the 1630s. See Hill, Antichrist in Seventeenth-Century England (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1971), pp. 38-9; Norbrook, Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984), pp. 244-5; and Milton, p. 119. Henry Burton speaks repeatedly of how texts are being suppressed in A Tryall of Private Devotions (1628; rprt. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1977) Sig. A2, L-M3. In contrast, Sheila Lambert's "Richard Montagu, Arminianism, and Censorship" (Past and Present 124 [August 1989]: 36-68) suggests that suppression was highly dramatized and politicized but not actually occurring.
See Izaak Walton, "The Life of Mr. George Herbert," in The Lives of John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker, George Herbert, and Robert Sanderson (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1950), p. 315.
Norbrook summarizes the nature of this suppression: "After the dissolution of Parliament in 1629, orthodox channels of political debate were still more strictly controlled; through the 1630s ecclesiastical censorship was tightened. The period of 'the king's peace' can be seen as the most determined attempt in English history to 'aestheticise politics,' to suppress articulate discussion and to try to force the realm into a form of ritualised submission" ("The Politics of Milton's Early Poetry," in John Milton, ed. Annabel Patterson [London: Longman, 1992], p. 48). Certainly, Herbert "'aestheticise [s] politics'" throughout The Temple, but there is a series of moments when he shows his hand.
F. E. Hutchinson, editor of The Works of George Herbert, explains these lines by noting that "the late reformation fell as far short of the primitive Church as The second Temple did of the first, and is equally a matter for tears" (p. 546 n. 1225-8). This assessment is perfectly in keeping with my reading of a Eusebian temple.
By ESTHER GILMAN RICHEY
Esther Gilman Richey is at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and recently completed a book on politics and gender in seventeenth-century prophecy.