Being Protestant in Reformation Britain by Alec Ryrie

By Alec Ryrie

The Reformation used to be approximately principles and tool, however it used to be additionally approximately actual human lives. Alec Ryrie offers the 1st complete account of what it truly intended to reside a Protestant existence in England and Scotland among 1530 and 1640, drawing on a wealthy mix of modern devotional works, sermons, diaries, biographies, and autobiographies to discover the lived adventure of early sleek Protestantism.
Beginning from the unusually pressing, multifaceted feelings of Protestantism, Ryrie explores practices of prayer, of family members and public worship, and of analyzing and writing, monitoring them during the existence direction from formative years via conversion and vocation to the deathbed. He examines what Protestant piety drew from its Catholic predecessors and contemporaries, and grounds that piety in fabric realities reminiscent of posture, meals, and tears.
This point of view exhibits us what it intended to be Protestant within the British Reformations: a gathering of depth (a faith which sought real feeling in particular, and which dreaded hypocrisy and hard-heartedness) with dynamism (a revolutionary faith, relentlessly pursuing sanctification and dreading idleness). That blend, for stable or unwell, gave the Protestant event its specific caliber of stressed, artistic zeal.
The Protestant devotional adventure additionally exhibits us that this was once a broad-based faith: for all of the modifications throughout time, among international locations, among women and men, and among puritans and conformists, this was once recognisably a unified tradition, within which universal stories and practices reduce throughout meant divides. Alec Ryrie exhibits us Protestantism, now not because the preachers on either side imagined it, yet because it used to be fairly lived.

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10 Watkins, Puritan Experience, 20; Dixon, ‘Predestination and pastoral theology’. 30 The Protestant Emotions Still, for some people at least, Calvinism could be a theology of despair, a problem which was as apparent in the early 17th century as it is now. That did not discredit it, and it is worth noting why. First—and this is almost too obvious to mention—just because a doctrine is unappealing does not make it false. Calvinism—and perhaps no ideology has ever been less prone to wishful thinking—did not argue principally that predestination was nice, but that it was true.

But for Calvin, and many others, Jesus Christ’s anguish in his Passion proved not only that such feelings were legitimate, but also that suffering in Christ’s service was of positive value for Christians. It taught reliance on God and compassion for others. 5 This was the consensus of post-Reformation Protestants in England and Scotland. 6 A few voices can be found whose praise of emotional self-discipline seems incautious. A 1629 biography of Bishop Arthur Lake praised his ‘strange serenitie of minde’ and his indifference to good or ill fortune.

It was a universal problem. 28 John Norden’s hugely successful prayer book A pensiue mans practise opens with a prayer for spiritual assistance ‘when we be dull’. Norden has his devotee ask ‘that being of my selfe dull, I may be thereby made zealous, and whereas I am of my selfe cold, I may be thereby made feruent and faithfull’. 29 Norden evidently felt that these were primary difficulties; his book’s success may indicate that his readers agreed. Similar prayers were a fixture of most devotional works of the period.

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