reform was demanded; and the friends of the estab-
lished liturgy expressed in the prayer-book itself a wish for its furtherance.1
The party strongest in numbers pleaded expediency for retaining much that had been sanctioned by ancient usage; while abhorrence of superstition excited the other party to demand the boldest innovations.
The austere principle was now announced, that not even a ceremony should be tolerated, unless it was enjoined by the word of God.
And this was Puritanism.
The church of England, at least in its ceremonial part, was established by an act of parliament, or a royal ordinance; Puritanism, zealous for independence, admitted no voucher but the Bible
—a fixed rule, which it would allow neither parliament, nor hierarchy, nor king, to interpret.
The Puritans adhered to the established church as far as their interpretations of the Bible
seemed to warrant; but no further, not even in things of indifference.
They would yield nothing in religion to the temporal sovereign; they would retain nothing that seemed a relic of the religion which they had renounced.
They asserted the equality of the plebeian clergy, and directed their fiercest attacks against the divine right of bishops, as the only remaining strong-hold of superstition.
In most of these views they were sustained by the reformers of the continent.
Bucer and Peter Martyr2
both complained of the backwardness of tile reformation in England
; Calvin wrote in the same strain.3
, who had gone into exile in 4