A moderate English
religious sect founded by
1593-97, Jacob was banished to Holland. In 1599 at
the age of 36, Jacob argued for a moderate reform
within the Church of England with
Cartwright, Henry Jacob and others were instrumental in
facilitating the Millenary Petition (1603),
a thousand signature wish list of puritan reforms to be submitted to
the new king
Henry Jacob called for reform within the Church of England with his own publication: Reasons taken out of Gods Word and the best humane Testimonies proving a necessitie of reforming our Churches in England (1604). Jacob put forward his ideas or a "gathered church" policy.His dissident work promptly landed him in prison.
The Hampton Court Conference (1604) debated the Millenary Petition (1603) in front of James I and a panel of Church divines. The puritan delegation was seeking changes to the Church of England and its administration. The King rejected their reforms as an affront to his own authority, and the established Church of England. The one real concession made was a new English translation of the Bible, The Authorized Version of the Bible (1611), later known as the King James Bible.
serving his eight month prison sentence,
Henry Jacob was exiled to Holland ca. 1605. Jacob
started a congregation in Middleburg, Zeeland,
Holland. He soon found other dissident
voices in exile such as
Jacob continued his missionary work in Holland and helped to establish a number of non-separatist congregations between 1609-1616. Henry Jacob also came into contact with John Robinson (1575-1625), a prominent Barrowist, and his Exiled English Church at Leyden. What effect each of these reformers may have had on the other is still an open question.
Henry Jacob Congregation (1616-1622)
The term Jacobite, or Jacob Church is a modern term. On a contemporary basis Jacob's congregation would have been referred to either as: Independents, Brownist, semi-Separatist, or Puritans. On a theological basis they would have been Calvinists.
After his return to England in 1616, Jacob started to put into practice his concepts of a new type of congregational polity. Jacob drew on earlier separatist traditions where authority rested with the congregation and its members rather than with a national church. He also drew on the new spirit of dissent that he had seen in Holland.
Rather than separating totally from the Church of England as other separatist congregations were advocating, Jacob would establish a semi-Separatist or a quasi-Independent congregation which would coexist 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 could 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.
Members were free to circulate back and forth between Jacob's congregation and their own 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 congregations of the period shunned all contact with the "corrupted" Church of England and all of its tainted members. Backsliding in many Separatist congregations, consorting with the enemy if you will, usually meant expulsion or excommunication from their 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 represented.
These "gathered churches" or "semi-separtists" as Jacob's congregations were sometimes known enjoyed a quasi-legal status unlike their 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 they were still just as illegal as any other nonconformist congregation.
Henry Jacob's London congregation in Southwark (London) became a focal point for moderate and liberal thought and discussion. Prominent theologians, thinkers and dissenters found ready audiences to discuss religious, social and political topics of the day. Southwark, across the River from London, was considered a hotbed of questionable morals by many including the puritans. The area was well known for its jails, prisons and its questionable entertainment including the theater.
Sometime during 1619 a situation developed within the congregation that came to a head. A division 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 New World. At the respectable age of 57, Henry Jacob began to consider greener pastures. In 1622, Henry Jacob left Southwark for the American Colonies with some of his congregation. He established a religious community at Jacobopolis in Virginia. Jacob returned to England and died there in 1624. Jacob left a major legacy of religious toleration to the developing congregational movement.
Jacob's former Southwark congregation was without an ordained clergyman between 1622-24. Unlike other Puritan or Independent congregations, the Jacobite congregation tradition did not rely on lay ministers, but hired only former ordained clergymen.
John Lathrop Congregation (1624-32)
Duppa was probably the lay minister when his faction established their own Independent congregation in 1630. Duppa would continued his non-fraternization policy with parish churches. In 1645, Duppa with a group of concerned separatist confronted Henry Barton (1578-1648), former clergyman now Independent minister for preaching inside parish churches, the enemy. Barton was not concerned with Duppa positions.
A few prominent members of Duppa's congregation included:
the Church statutes, agents of the
During 1633 most of the congregation had been released from prison. There would be a vacancy left at the pulpit while Lathrop remained in prison. This vacancy would last from 1634-37.
After his release from prison, Lathrop decided to follow Henry Jacob's earlier example to seek greener pastures in the New World. In 1634, Lathrop found himself on the safer shores of Boston, Mass. far from London and prison.
Lathrop along with a few of his parishioners established the first puritan church at Scituate, Plymouth Colony in 1635. He moved to Barnstable, Mass. as minister in 1639 and remained there until his death in 1653.
period of 1632?-37, another London separatist
congregation whose origins are unclear appeared
under the leadership of
Samuel Eaton Congregation (1634-39)
1633 another faction left the congregation over the issue of the Church of England being "true churches".A new congregation under
the leadership of
Eaton was a London button-maker by trade. His education and background are uncertain. He was a member of the Jacob-Lathrop's who with other in April of 1632 were arrested. Eaton he remained in prison from 1632-34. In early 1634, Eaton was released and became the lay minister of the new congregation which was probably of strict Separatist leanings. There was a mix of theological positions among the congregation including infant and adult baptism. Periods between 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 including William Kiffin (1616-1701).
Henry Jessey Congregation (1636-1660)
Jessey assumed the leadership of the Jacob-Lathrop congregation in mid-1637. After 1637, increased political and religious pressures inside and outside started to influence the Jessey congregation in London. In February 1638, the congregation was discovered at Queenhithe (London), an area near the modern Mansion House Station, and later in May 1638.
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 congregation. Some of these would result in breakaway splinter groups.
congregation divided itself by mutual consent in May 1640
due to its increased size. One half of the congregation moved
to Fleet Street (London) under the new leadership
The remainder of the congregation would continue under Henry Jessey. The Jessey congregation was itself being influenced by the radical times. Some of the original tenets of Henry Jacob and John Lathrop were being influenced by more a radical theology of the period. Part of this was due in part to the radical views incorporated in its own congregational membership.
There is some indication that on the death of Samuel Howe (fl.1632-1640) that his Independent congregation with Baptist leanings may have merged with the Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey congregation shortly. In 1641, with the appointment of Stephen More as the replacement minister for Samuel Howe, members of the former Howe congregation may have returned to the new Stephen More.
Jessey himself was also undergoing some theological changes in his own personal religious values. He had become influenced by Sabbatarianism, the worship of the 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 action led to a major conference of other London Independent congregations in May 1644. The result of this conference was the creation of a new Independent congregation in London under William Kiffin. The congregation was formed on Calvinistic principals, infant baptism 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 now being practiced in the Jessey congregation. References were sometimes made in the 1650's of the congregation being Baptist. 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 (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 members. He returned to London in August 1664, he fell ill and died on 4 September 1663. His funeral in London comprised some 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 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.
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______. 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) [STC 14334]
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______. [Another ed.] (1909)
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______. .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 th' administration of His Churches in Lieu of Human Constitutions (1609)
______. [Another ed.] (1975)
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______. 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]
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______. [Another ed.] (1975)
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