A moderate or Independent English religious sect established under
Henry Jacob had matriculated from St. Mary's Hall, Oxford in 1581; B.A.(1583) and M.A.(1586). A precentor at Corpus Christi College,Cambridge. An ordained clergyman, Jacob was active in the early puritan reform movement within the Church of England.
During the period 1593-97, Jacob was banished to Holland for his views. In 1599, at the age of 36, Jacob argued for moderate reforms within the Church of England, along with
Henry Jacob would also call for his own reforms within the Church of England with his publicationReasons taken out of Gods Word and the best humane Testimonies proving a necessitie of reforming our Churches in England (1604). Jacob put forward his own ideas for what was called a "gathered church" congregational policy. His work was dedicated to the new king, and promptly landed him a stint in prison.
The Hampton Court Conference (1604) was a major debate on various reforms proposed in the Millenary Petition(1603). The conference was held in front of King James I and a panel of Church of England authorities, and divines. The Puritan delegation presented their reforms and their arguments for them.
The King took an active participation in the discussions. He demonstrated a clear understanding of the proposals and reforms being requested. Unfortunately for the Puritan clergy rather than being predisposed to the reforms being offered, the King was all to familiar with the Church of Scotland and its doctrines. The King seemed to feel the manner of the Millenary Petition was itself was an afront to the authority of the Crown. He basically stated that England was not Scotland, and rejected the majority of their proposals as contrary to the Elizabethan Settlement, and the Church of England which the King agreed to protect, and defend at his coronation. The Puritans did not leave the conference totally empty handed. The King agreed to a few small reforms as not unreasonable. His major concession was the request for a new English Bible. The Authorized Version of the Bible (1611) was publish, a major work of the English language. It became better known as the King James Bible.
After serving his eight month prison sentence,Henry Jacob was exiled to Holland during 1605. Jacob started his own congregation in Middleburg, Zeeland, Holland. He found other dissident voices in exile such as
Jacob continued his own missionary work in Holland and helped to establish
a number of Independent congregations between 1609-1616. Jacob also came into contact with
The term Jacobite, or Jacob Church is a modern term. On a contemporary basis Jacob's congregation may have been referred to either as: Independents, Puritan, a semi-Separatist, or even Brownists. On a theological basis they may have considered a leaning Calvinists, of a Puritan in the day. Jacob was known for his tolerant religious views.
After his return to England in 1616, Jacob started to put into practice his concepts, and views for a new type of congregational polity. Jacob drew on earlier Separatist, or Congregational traditions where church authority rested with the individual congregation and its members rather than within a national church structure. He also drew on the new spirit of dissent that he had seen while in Holland.
Rather than separating totally from the Church of England as other Separatist congregations were advocating, Jacob would advocate a semi-Separatist or a quasi-Independent congregation status which would coexist with some form of open communion alongside the Church of England. Jacob did not reject the authority of the State Church, but rather argued that other independent congregations of equal status might coexist outside the control of the State Church. Tolerance was a major component of Jacob's theology in a period where toleration was generally lacking by many. Jacob would remain the pastor of this new flock in Southwark from 1616-22.
Congregational members would be free to circulate back and forth between Jacob's congregation, and their own home parish churches. Members were free to continue their communicant status within the Church of England, while still having access to a more open community of like minded believers in Jacob's congregation.
This open door policy with the Church of England was not supported by all members of Jacob's congregation. Some Separatist-Independent congregations of the period shunned all contact with the "corrupted" Church of England and all of its tainted members. Any backsliding in many Separatist congregations, was generally consorting with the enemy if you will, and usually meant expulsion or excommunication from their current congregation.
Jacob was known for his tolerant religious philosophy, many within Jacob's congregation were not as tolerant as their pastor. Being a tolerant congregation, a broad spectrum of theological opinions were often represented. This was often a dual edged sword in many ways.
These "gathered churches" or "semi-separtists" as Jacob's congregations were sometimes known enjoyed a quasi-legal status unlike their fellow Separatist neighbors. Jacob's congregations were generally considered outside of the Separatist tradition by other Separatists churches for consorting with the enemy, i.e. the Church of England. But in the eyes of the State Church they were still considered just as illegal as any other nonconformist congregations.
Henry Jacob's London congregation in Southwark (London) became something of a focal point for moderate and liberal social thought and discussion during the period. Prominent theologians, thinkers and dissenters often found ready audiences to discuss religious, social and political topics of the day. Southwark, being across the River from London, was considered a hotbed of questionable morals by many including the Puritans. The area was well known for its questionable entertainments and good tymes, and "sin and vices", and loose women. So it was a major destination for many "respectable people". Also being out of the legal jurisdiction of the City of London had its own benefits for business.
Sometime during 1619 a situation developed within the Jacob congregation that came to a head. A rift had begun between the pro-puritan membership, and the pro-Separatist members of the congregation. This resulted in Jacob resigning his office in 1619.
In 1620, the New Plymouth Colony was started in the American Colonies. At the respectable age of 57, Henry Jacob began to consider new pastures for his missionary zeal. In 1622, Henry Jacob left Southwark with a small contingency from his former congregation and sailed to the New World. He would established a religious community at Jacobopolis, named in his honour, in Virginia. Jacob returned to England in 1624, and died. Jacob left a major legacy of religious toleration to the developing English congregational movement.
Jacob's former Southwark congregation was without an ordained clergyman between 1622-24. Unlike other Puritan or Independent congregations of the period, the Jacobite congregation by tradition did not rely on lay ministers, but used only former ordained clergymen in their congregations.
John Lathrop Congregation (1624-32)
In 1630, a small faction of dissenters left Lathrop's congregation. These included
A few prominent members of Duppers congregation included:
Pursuant to the Church statutes, agents of the Bishop of London from 1628-33,
This left a vacancy between 1634-37 for the remaining conventicle members with out a minister. During 1633 most of the arrested members had being released from prison. After his own release from prison, Lathrop decided to follow Henry Jacob's own earlier example to seek new pastures in the New World. During 1634, Lathrop found himself on the shores of Boston, Mass., far from the Bishop of London and prison.
Lathrop along with a few of his former parishioners established the first Puritan congregation at Scituate, Plymouth Colony in 1635. He moved to Barnstable, Mass. as its minister in 1639 and remained there until his death in 1653.
John Spilbury Congregation (1636)
During the period of 1632?-37, another London separatist congregation whose origins are still unclear appeared under the leadership of
Samuel Eaton Congregation (1634-39)
During 1633 another faction left the Lathrop congregation over the issue of the Church of England being "true churches". A new congregation was formed under the
the leadership of
Samuel Eaton was a London button-maker by trade. His education and background are unclear. He was a member of the Jacob-Lathrop congregations who were arrested in April of 1632. Eaton remained in prison during 1632-34. In early 1634, Eaton was released from prison, and became the lay minister of the new congregation which was probably of strict Separatist leanings. There was a mix of theological positions including infant and adult baptism. Periods during 1634-39, Eaton was himself in hiding, or in and out of jail or prison by the High Commission. After Eaton's death in 1639 some of its members may have returned back to the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey congregation along with
Henry Jessey Congregation (1636-1660)
Jessey assumed the titular leadership of the Jacob-Lathrop congregation during mid-1637. After 1637, increased political and religious pressures from inside and outside started to influence the Jessey congregation in London. In February 1638, the conventicle was discovered by agents at Queenhithe, near the Thames River (East London), an area near the modern Mansion House Station. During May 1638, the conventicles was discovered by agents, and arrests were made.
In 1639, Jessey was dispatched as a commissioner to start new congregations in Wales. Growing separatist pressures within and from without resulted in more factions of various radical sentiments in the current congregation. Some of these would result in breakaway splinter groups.
The Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey congregation divided itself in two by mutual consent in May 1640 due to its increased size, and increased security from Church agents. One half of the congregation moved to Fleet Street in London under the new leadership of
The remaining fifty-percent of the congregation would continue under Henry Jessey. The Jessey congregation was itself being influenced by more Separatist leaning reforms from within the membership itself . Trying to maintain the basic tenets of Henry Jacob and John Lathrop toleration were being were being questioned. Part of this was due in part to newer the radical views in many new Independent or semi-Separtist congregations, and those sects available in London.
There were some indication that on the death of
Jessey himself was also undergoing some theological changes in his own personal religious values. He had become influenced by Sabbatarianism, the worship of the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday. He had personally become acquainted with the Baptist movement, and the more radical Fifth Monarchy Men sect. Jessey was well respected as a scholar and man of principals. Jessey tried to maintain a broad view of religious toleration.
Jessey and others was arrested in August 1641 by order of the Lord Mayor, and sent to the Wood Street Compter(Prison). They were released by orders of the Long Parliament.
In 1642, a theological debate occurred within the Jessey congregation over the administration of infant baptism and believer's baptism or adult baptism.
This disagreement generated considerable conflict within the congregation, and in the local conference. A major major conference of other London Independent congregations in called in May 1644. The recommendations of this conference was the creation of a new Independent congregation in London under William Kiffin. The new congregation was formed on Calvinistic principals, and quasi-Baptist leanings.
About 1643, Jessey along with
William Kiffin has been credited in large measure with helping to organize the initial congregations that signed the First Confession of Faith of 1643. This document became the primary confession of the London Particular Baptists congregations. It was published as the First London Confession of Faith (1644).
Jessey was a moderate Independent with some Baptists leanings. By 1645,"believer's baptism" or adult baptism was being practiced in the Jessey congregation. References were sometimes made in the 1650's of the congregation being referred to as Baptist leaning. There are indications that Jessey pursued a tolerant and moderate mixed congregation policy with regards to communion. This policy was not supported by the more conservation congregations such as William Kiffin.
Jessey as a noted Hebrew scholar well aware of the Jewish Sabbath question. He gradually came to accept Sabbatarianism on a personal basis between 1647-53.Jessey kept his own personal beliefs in Sabbaratians out of his own congregation.
In 1653, Jessey became a teacher at a Baptist congregation in Swan Alley, Coleman Street (London). He preached there on Sundays and was associated with
During the 1650's the original Southwark congregation moved to St. George's Parish (Southwark). Jessey was removed from his position at the Restoration (1660). Jessey was closely watched and imprisoned between 1660-63.
During 1663, Jessey was in Holland helping some of his former parish members. He returned to London in August 1664, he fell ill and died on 4 September 1663. His funeral in London consisted of a reported four to five thousand mourners. Jessey was held in high regard as a clergyman, scholar, author and humanitarian.
A number of London congregations of the Interregnum period may have had their roots in the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey congregations. They were known for their toleration of different theological views within their congregation. This moderate toleration often resulted in many breakaway congregations not quite so tolerant.
Their reliance on former ordained clergymen rather than using lay ministers also set the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey congregations apart from other Independent congregations of the Interregnum. Jacob, Lathrop and Jessey were well educated clergyman and respected scholars in their own right. Their importance as a tolerant voice and moderate middle ground in the London religious community of the period may be under appreciated.
A SELECT JACOB-LATHROP-JESSEY BIBLIOGRAPHY
Ames, William, [1576-1633],The Relation of Church and State [n.d.], In The Reformation of the Church, Murray, I.H.,(ed.)[1965;]
______, De Conscientia et ejus vel casibus (1630)
______, Conscience with the Power and cases there of. (Tr. out of Latine) (1639); [STC552]
Bilson, Thomas,[1546-7?-1616], The Effect of Certaine Sermons, touching the full Redemption of Mankind (1599); [STC 3064]
______, Perpetual Government of Christes Church ( )
Bradshaw, William, [1571-1618], A Treatise of Divine Worship, Tending to Prove that the Ceremonies imposed vpon the Ministers of the Gospell in England, in the Present Controversie, are in their vse vnlawfull (1604); [STC3528]
______, A Protestation of the King's Supremacie(1605); [STC 3525]
Cosin, Richard, [1549?-1597], Answer to the two first and Principall Treatises of a Certain Faction Libell, put Foorth Latelie, Without name of Author or Printer, and Without Approbation by Authoritie,...
Dickinson,Edmund, [1624-1707], Delphi Phoenicizantes, sive Tractatus, in quo Graecos, quicquid apudDelphos celebre erat: ... (1655); [EEb, 1641-1700 ; 528:19]
Downame, George, [d.1634], Defence of the Sermon Preached at the Consecration of the L. Bishop of Bath and Welles [1613;]
Featley, Daniel,[ ] The Dippers Dipt (1645);
[Fenner, Dudley,[1558?-1587]] A Counter-poyson, Modestly Written for the time, to make Aunswere to the Obiections and Reproaches, wherein the Aunswere to the Abstract, Would Disgrace the Holy Discipline of Christ [1584;] [EEb,1475-1460; 224:8] [STC (2nd ed.) 10770][ESTCS101936]
Howard, Luke,[ ], A Looking-Glass for Baptists (1672)
Jacob, Henry [1563-1624],
______, A Treatise of the Sufferings and Victory of Christ,in then work of our Redemption Declaring by the Scriptures These Two Quetions, ... (1598);[EEb, 1475-1640; 936:16][STC 14340][ESCTS107530]
______, A Defence of the Chvrches and Ministery of Englande. Written in two Treatises, Against Thereasons and obiections of Maister Francis Iohnson. and others of the separation commonly called Brownists, ... (1599); [EEb, 1475-1640; 251:2][STC 14335][ESTCS107526]
______, A Short Treatise Concerning the Trvenes of a Pastorall Calling in Pastors made by Prelates ... (1599)
______, A Defence of a Treatise Touching the Sufferings and Victorie of Christ in the worke of our redemption. ... (1600); [EEb, 1475-1640; 936:15][STC (2nd ed.)14333][ESTCS103093]
______,[[Another. ed.]] (1600) [STC14334]
______, Reasons Taken Ovt of Gods Word and the best Humane Testimonies Proving a Necessitie of Reforming ovr Churches in England ... (1603); [EEb, 1475-1640; 993:9][STC 14338][ESTCS120955]
______, [[Another ed.]](1909)
______, Principles and Foundations of the Christian Religion
______, A Third Humble Supplication of Many Faithful Subjects in England Falsely called Puritans Directed to the King's Majesty (1605)
______, A Christian and Modest Offer of a Most Indifferent Conference or Dispvtation, Abovt the Maine and Principall Coutroversies Betwixt the Prelate, and the late Silenced and Deprived Ministers in England (1606); [EEb, 1475-1640; 1145:3] [STC 14329] [ESTCS120767]
______, To the High and Mightie Prince, Iames by the Grace of God, King of Great Britannie, France, and Irelande ... : An Humble Supplication for Toleration and Libertie to Enjoy and Observe the Ordinances of Christ Jesus in the administration of His Churches in Lieu of Human Constitutions (1609)
______, An Humble Supplication for Toleration (1609)
______, Divine Beginnings and Institutions of Christ true Visible ... Church, (1610)
______, [The Divine Beginning of Christs church] (1610); [EEb, 1475-1640;993:7] [STC 14336][ESTCS101363]
______, A Plaine and Cleere Exposition of the Second Commandement(1610); [STC 14337]
______, A Declaration and Plainer Opening of Certaine Pointes in the Divine Beginning of Christes True Church (1611); [STC 14331]
______, A Declaration and Plainer Opening of Certaine Points, with a Sound Confirmation of Some Other, Contained in a Teatise Intituled, The divine Beginning and Institution of Christes True Visible and Ministeriall Church (1612); [EEb, 1475-1640; 1145:4,1549:4][STC 14332][ESTCS102836]
______, An Attestation of Many Learned Godly, and Famous Divines, lightes of Religion, and Pillars of the Gospell, iustifying this Doctrine, ... (1613); [EEb, 1475-1640; 993:5] [STC 14328] [ESTCS117858]
______, An Attestation of Many Divines that the Church-government Ought to Bee Alwayes with the Peoples Free Consent (1613);
______,[[Another ed.]] (1975)
______, Anno Domini 1616. A Confession and Protestation of the Faith of Certaine Christians in England (??);[1616;] [EEb, 1475-1640; 993:6] [STC 14330][ESCTS120216]
______, Kneeling in the Act of Eating and Drinking at the Lords Table is a Sinne. Proved by 8 Arguments Printed in the Yeare 1641 (1641); [Wing (2nd ed.) J96] [Thomason Tracts;163:E.1102(5)][ESTCR208356]
Jessey, Henry, [1603-1663]. The Scripture-almanacke, or a Calculation According to the English Account, and the Word of God. [1646;][EEb, 1641-1700; 2380:2] [Wing (CD-ROM, 1996)A1833A] [ESTCR223971]
______,[Another ed.] 1650. The scripture-kalendar, Used by the Prophets and Apostles, and by our Lord Jesus Christ [1650;] [EEb, 1641-1700; 2322:4][Wing A1835A][ECTSR229487]
______, A Storehouse of Provision(1650)
______, Miscellanea sacra, or, Diverse Necessary Truths, now as Seasonably Published, as they were plainly and Compendeously proved by Henry Jessey, late Minister of the Gospel in London (1665);;[EEb, 1641-1700; 1950:6] [Wing (2nd ed.) J695] [ESTCR216570]
______, A Looking-glass for Children Being a Narrative of God's Gracious Dealings with Some Little Children, Recollected by Henry Jessey in his Life-Time [4th ed.; 1673;] [EEB, 1641-1700; 2292:24] [Wing P30A][ESTCR42778]
______,"Letters to Henry Jacie", In Collections (Mass. Historical Society), 3rd ser., 1; 4th ser., 6, ()
Johnson, Francis, [1562-1618], An Answer to Maister H. Iacob his Defence of the churches and ministery of England. By Francis Johnson an exile of Iesus Christ (1600); [EEb, 1475-1640;994:11] [STC 14658][ESTCS121679]
Killcop,Thomas, A Short Treatise of Baptisme (1642)
Ormerod, Oliver, [1580?-1626], The Picture of a Puritane; or a Relation of the Opinions a. Practises of the Anabaptists in Germanie a. of the Puritanes in England. Whereunto is Annexed Puritano-papismus (1605); [STC18851]
______.[[Another ed.]] Newly Corrected and Enlarged (1605); [STC 18852]
Staresmore, Sabine [fl.1616-1647], Unlawfullnes of Reading in Prayer (1619)
Brachlow, S., The Communion of Saints: Radical Puritan and Separatists Ecclesiology 1570-1625 (1988)
______, "The Elizabethan Roots of Henry Jacob's Churchmanship", Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 36,1985
Dodd, J.A., "The Eschatology of Praise-God Barebone", Transactions of the Congregational Historical Society 4,1909-10
Hylson-Smith, K., The Churches in England from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, Vol. 1, 1558-1688(1996)
Nuttall, G.F., Visible Saints: The Congregational Way 1640-1660 (1957)
Paul, R.S., "Henry Jacob and Seventeenth-Century Puritanism", Hartford Quarterly 7,1967
Tolmie, M., The Triumph of the Saints, The Separate Churches of London, 1616-1649 (1977)
______, "The Jacob Church", In The Triumph of the Saints,The Separate Churches of London, 1616-1649 (1977)
von Rohr, J.,"The Congregationalism of Henry Jacob"Transactions of the Congregational Historical Society 19,1962
______, "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus: An Early Congregational Version", Church History, 36,1967
White, B.R., "How did William Kiffin join the Baptist?", Baptist Quarterly 23, ()
______, "Samuel Eaton (d. 1639), Particular Baptist Pioneer", Baptist Quarterly 24, ( )
Whitley, W.T., "Debate of Infant Baptism, 1643", Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society 1,1908-09
______, "The Jacob-Jessey Church, 1616-1678", Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society 1,1908-09
______, "Records of the Jabob-Lathrop-Jessey Church,1616-1641", Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society 1,1908-09
______, "Rise of the Particular Baptists in London,1633-1644", Transactions of the Baptist Historical Society 1,1908-09
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