REFERENCE WORK ON PURITANISM DEDICATED TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

The perpetuitie of a regenerate mans estate

London, William Iones dwelling in Redcrosse-streete, 1626.

£2,250

FIRST EDITION, 4to (xl), 410, (ii), final errata leaf. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut initials, woodcut and typographical headpieces, early ex libris of Isaac Farmer and Humphry Govier who ‘borrowed this Booke for some tyme of his friend’ on fly, and Oliver Govier on f. e-p. at end. Light age yellowing, light damp-stain to upper margin of opening gathering, the odd minor marginal spot or thumb mark. A very good, clean copy, in contemporary limp vellum.

First edition of the author’s first work, dedicated to George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, a virulent attack on Arminianism, and the opening broadside in Prynne’s lifelong polemical battle against all non puritans. Although Prynne had devoted himself to the Law, his interests began to lie more and more with religious reform, which he tackled in the publication of several pamphlets. In particular he was opposed to Arminianism (the doctrine that God had given people the choice to accept or reject him) in the court of Charles I. Prynne was an ardent puritan and thus believed in predestination and original sin. In this work he harshly criticised the Arminians and was summoned to court to defend the publication. He avoided imprisonment and continued to publish pamphlets attacking the corruption of the theatre, the wearing of long hair, sport on Sundays etc.

This work is important in highlighting the beginnings of the political and doctrinal split that would lead to the civil war. “Doctrinal Calvinists, humiliated in front of Buckingham at the York House Conference, were excluded from Royal counsels and from ecclesiastical preferment. The isolation of the court from Calvinist opinions, and the aggressive Arminian policies pursued during the personal rule, ultimately drove previously law-abiding episcopalian Calvinists, both in England and Scotland, into counter resistance to the King and the church hierarchy: but it was unquestionably the King and Laud who were the innovators, and the Puritans, the reactionaries.”  Peter White. ‘Predestination, Policy and Polemic’. Prynne used this polemic to link ‘Arminian’ error in doctrine with ‘Popish’ ceremony in worship. He wanted action taken by Parliament before “the poisonous works of Aquinas, Lombard, Scotus, Suarez, Bellarmine and such like Popish schoolmen. (…) be read by too many, whence they smell and stink of Popery and Neutrality ever after, to their own perdition”. A very good entirely unsophisticated copy.

STC 20471. ESTC, S115319. Not in Lowndes.

L1394

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