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pg xiiiIntroduction


John Cosin was born in Norwich on 30 November 1595,1 of a wealthy father, probably a merchant, and a mother who came of a landed family. Educated at the Grammar School at Norwich, Cosin was selected at the age of fifteen to fill one of the scholarships reserved for the school at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, then under the Mastership of William Branthwaite.2 He took his B.A. in 1614 and M.A. in 1617; his D.D. was conferred in 1630. Little is known of Cosin's life while at Caius, either as an undergraduate, or, from 1620 to 1624, as a Junior Fellow. He evidently showed remarkable ability, since in 1616 he attracted the attention of two eminent churchmen: both Lancelot Andrewes, then Bishop of Ely, and John Overall, Bishop of Lichfield, offered him a position as episcopal librarian and secretary. On the advice of his tutor, Cosin decided in favour of Overall, remaining in his service until May 1619, when Overall died at Norwich, to which see he had only a few months previously been translated. This short period probably marked the beginning of Cosin's association with the 'Arminians', that party of the Church most vigorously opposed to the Puritans. Whatever influence Overall had, there can be no doubt of Cosin's lasting fondness for his memory, for years later, in 1669, he erected a handsome memorial to him in the Cathedral Church of Norwich.

After an interval of four years at Caius, during which time he was Rhetoric Praelector (1620–1) and University Preacher (1622), Cosin was called by Bishop Neile of Durham to be one of his domestic chaplains. He received immediate preferment to the Mastership of Greatham Hospital, a position pg xivhe soon resigned in favour of a prebendal stall at Durham and the Rectory of Elwick. In 1625, his second year at Durham, he was made Archdeacon of the East Riding, and finally in 1626 Rector of Brancepeth, a living which he seems to have particularly enjoyed and often occupied. Cosin must have spent much time, however, with Bishop Neile at Durham House in London, which had become a centre for discussion of theology and the current problems of the Church. They were often joined there by many of the most important churchmen of the day, such as William Laud, Francis White, Richard Mountague, and John Buckeridge. Cosin's early biographer, Thomas Smith, wrote concerning the year 1626:

Londini in aedibus D. Neli, Dunelmensis Episcopi, tanquam in Collegio & sacro consessu, venerabiles viri, D.D.D. Laudus, Episcopus Bathoniensis & Wellensis, Whitus, mox Episcopus Carleolensis, Richardus Montacutus, aliique pietate, doctrina, & flagranti Ecclesiae Anglicanae contra turn Pontificiorum, turn Puritanorum insidias & impetus tuendae zelo insignes, de rebus ad Ecclesiam & religionem spectantibus consultaturi, convenire soliti erant: quorum colloquiis Cosinus, licet annis & dignitate longe inferior, praesens aderat.3

These meetings of Church leaders at Durham House may have provided inspiration for one of the most important controversial books of the time, Appello Caesarem (1625), by Richard Mountague, Canon of Windsor and later Bishop of Chichester. Mountague knew Cosin at Durham House and, though by many years the older man, came especially to trust in his judgement. He submitted his book to Cosin, instructing him to alter it in any way that he saw fit. Appello Caesarem sets out a part of the Arminian position—that the Church of Rome is a true Church though in error—and it naturally brought down a storm of abuse from the Puritans in the House of Commons as soon as it appeared, for it substantiated all too well their worst fears of the leadership of the Church. Mountague had already written polemical works—especially, pg xvA Gagg for the new Gospell? No: A New Gagg for an Old Goose (1624)—so the Puritans now regarded him with extreme disfavour. Another response to Mountague's books was a conference at York House, in London, at which arguments for and against his theology were heard, with Cosin acting as secretary and also speaking in his defence.4

Cosin defended Mountague (and had perhaps even written some of the Appello) because he believed the Anglican tradition was best expressed as a way of finding the mean between the 'excesses' of Geneva and Rome, while yet retaining Catholicity, with 'Antiquity [as] the best Expositer of Faith'. From the first, then, Cosin declared himself the friend of those who understood the English Church to be a sound branch of the Catholic Church, purged of the corruptions of Rome on the one side, and of Calvinism on the other. Like Hooker, he appealed to the authority of the early Church, the Fathers and the first general councils, in order to vindicate the Church of the via media, Catholic and reformed, a Church 'which ever held firm (and we are able to make it good) in a continued line of succession from former known bishops, and so from this very mission of the Apostles'.5 This is a theme that runs through Cosin's thought, and we see it well expressed in one of his early sermons spoken at the consecration of the Bishop of Carlisle, Dr. Francis White, a friend and regular visitor at Durham House. The text was from John 20. 21, 22: 'As My Father sent Me, even so send I you':

We demand … How was Christ sent? And He was sent for two ends. The first, to be the Redeemer of our souls, and to reconcile God unto men, which He did by His death; the second, to be the Bishop of our souls, and to reconcile men unto God, which He did by leaving us a Gospel, His life and doctrine, in a Church behind Him. In the first sense the Apostles were not sent, they were to be no redeemers nor mediators neither. For it cost more to redeem men's souls, and both they and their pg xvisuccessors must let that sicut alone for ever. And yet there is a stent similitudinis in it for all that, though there be no sicut aequalitatis, there is some likeness in their sendings this way. He, sent by His Father to be a Mediator for mankind, and to reconcile the world by His death and sacrifice upon the cross. They, sent by Him, to mediate and to pray for the people, to be ministers of the reconciliation, as St. Paul speaks, and in a manner, to be sacrificers too, representers at the Altar here, and appliers of the Sacrifice once made for all; without which last act, the first will do us no good.6

At the same time, Cosin would probably have agreed with Mountague's assertion, 'I professe my selfe none of those furious ones in point of difference now-a-dayes, whose profession and resolution is, That the farther in any thing from communion with the Church of Rome, the neerer unto God and Truth … the Church of Rome is a true, though not a sound Church of Christ, as well since, as before the Councell of Trent; a part of the Catholick, though not the Catholick Church … '.7 Since Cosin had been identifying himself from the outset of his career with these principles and the party that most keenly espoused them, he was himself destined to become the butt of considerable Puritan abuse.

The appearance of Cosin's Devotions in the first part of 1627 aroused immediate opposition, for the disagreements between Charles and the High Churchmen, on the one hand, and the Puritans, sustained by the majority of the House of Commons, on the other, were growing increasingly acute and bitter. The hard words over Mountague, whom the King had advanced to a Bishopric, surely had not been forgotten, nor had Cosin's connexion with him. To the Puritans the Devotions seemed one more effort to advance 'Popery', with Cosin a champion of the Arminian position. In 1628 William Prynne and Henry Burton wrote fierce pamphlets about it, apparently to attract the attention of the Parliament then sitting. In the same year Cosin upset one Peter Smart, a fellow Prebend at Durham, pg xviiwho on 27 July preached in the Cathedral an extraordinarily abusive sermon, directed principally against him: The Vanitie & Downe-fall of Superstitious Popish Ceremonies … . Cosin, in keeping with the High Churchmen's desire to enrich the liturgy by splendid ceremonial, had supported the reform of services at Durham Cathedral—though it is likely that the services had been 'reformed' even before his arrival: he may have extended only what was already begun. Smart's attack reflects numerous Puritan dislikes: there is a passing, slighting reference to the Devotions in the preface to the printed version of the sermon, but the sermon itself is concerned with such things as music in the Church, the wearing of copes, the placing of the altar in the east end with the font at the west entrance, bowing to the altar, the use of candles. It was, of course, the theological implications of these things that troubled the Puritans. Thus, Smart says, 'Now indeed the originall cause of most of our superstitious Ceremonies, is that Popish opinion, that Christs Church hath yet Priests Sacrifices and Altars: when as indeed Christ was sent of God to be the last priest, which should offer the last sacrifice upon the last Altar, that ever the world should have.'8 Because Cosin could not agree, he had no peace.

The next Parliament saw in Cosin a sinister figure. The King had followed his general pardon for Mountague, Cosin, Sibthorpe, and Mainwaring—all of whom had outspokenly offended the Puritans—with a proclamation issued on 17 January 1629, calling in Mountague's book, an action meant to put an end to discussion of it. Soon after the opening of this Parliament a petition of 4 February was preferred against Cosin, 'with articles annexed thereunto, tending to the introduction of Popish doctrine and Popish ceremonies [at Durham]'.9 Cosin was also ordered to answer to the Commons on 23 February. On the 24th the famous 'Head and Articles Agreed upon by the House' was put forward, and in it Cosin was particularly named. Religion, it was declared, struggled pg xviiisadly in a troubled state, for not only did books supporting Arminianism flourish, but also services were being established full of Popish imitation. Cosin must obviously fall on both points, with appropriate condemnation. It was recommended that the books of Mountague and Cosin, including the Devotions, described as his 'Horary', be burned, and 'that such as have been authors or abettors of those Popish and Arminian innovations in doctrine may be condignly punished'.10 Only the Royal intervention, adjourning and then dissolving Parliament, saved Cosin from the implementation of these proposals. The 'Eleven Years' Tyranny' which followed gave him a respite from the attacks of the Puritans, but they renewed them in 1640. Peter Smart laid a set of charges against him, and although his responsibility for the Devotions was not discussed again, his other offences confirmed the Puritans in that opposition to him which finally forced him into years of voluntary exile.11

In 1634 Bishop White, lately translated from Carlisle to Ely, doubtless remembering his earlier association with Cosin and his approval of his views, preferred him from the nominations of the Fellows to the vacant Mastership of Peterhouse, Cambridge. At the same time, Cosin retained his Durham appointments—although his patron, Neile, had been elected to Winchester (1627) and to the Archbishopric of York (1631) —and his post as a chaplain-in-ordinary to the King, which he had been given in 1627. When he came to Peterhouse, Cosin set out to enforce the High Church attitudes he discovered there. The College was already known for the High Churchmanship of the two previous Masters, Leonard Mawe and Matthew Wren. Mawe and Wren were both known to the Court and had enjoyed preferment: they had both accompanied the Prince to Spain on behalf of the ill-fated marriage settlement with the Infanta, and Wren had left Peterhouse for the Bishopric of Hereford.

In Tudor and Stuart times, Crown and Church constantly pg xixinterfered with the Universities. Both Masters and Fellows were frequently intruded by Royal proclamation, 'local statutes notwithstanding'; appointment to College office was a common way of rewarding a favourite, or someone with suitable views. James had thus intruded Matthew Wren into the Mastership. Although Cosin's appointment to the Mastership appears to have followed the usual, legal custom, he was nevertheless enjoying the benefits of faithful service to the established order. As Master of Peterhouse he could be securely counted on to promote the doctrine and welfare of the Church and King in the University—an obviously important area of influence.

At Peterhouse Cosin applied his love of ceremony and his devotion to 'the ordered past'. He enriched the Chapel, begun under Wren, with lavish decorations, introducing an elaborate ritual, which included incense, and possibly, if Prynne's subsequent allegation is correct, the use of the canonical hours from his Devotions. He further enforced an exacting discipline on the scholars, requiring fines, for example, for absence from prayers.12 In generally Puritan Cambridge, Peterhouse was pre-eminently Loyalist. It was first among the Colleges to forward its silver to the Royal Mint in July 1642, 13while Cosin, as principal in all its affairs, early fell victim to the new Parliament. He had been Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1639–40, and, since the end of 1640, Dean of Peterborough, an office to which the King preferred him.14 As Vice-Chancellor, Cosin instituted into the University Church of Great St. Mary's 'innovations' which recalled his activities at Peterhouse and the ceremonies Smart had criticized at Durham.

Such continuing practices could not be tolerated by the Commons; they sent for Cosin on 21 November 1640 as a 'Delinquent'. In the following year, on 11 March, he was impeached, being held unfit to hold any office. It is not certain just when he left Cambridge—he could not have pg xxremained long in safety—but he had certainly set off well before the visitation by the Earl of Manchester in March 1644 with his order from the Long Parliament to 'regulate the Universities'.15

Before leaving England, Cosin perhaps spent some time with friends, in hiding to avoid Parliamentary arrest. We next know of him in Paris, but not until 1645. There he passed the long period until the Restoration as Chaplain to the little group of Anglican Royalists, preaching encouragement to them, conducting English services at Faubourg St. Germain in the old Laudian way with ceremony and dignity, and writing defences of the English Church and her doctrines—of these there were the Regni Angliae Religio Catholica (1652) and History of Popish Transubstantiation (1655). He was in difficult circumstances, living on gifts from friends and a small pension from the French Government, but all the while under Queen Henrietta Maria's cold neglect. Yet Cosin remained strong within the English Church, 'the Atlas of the Protestant Religion', proving his faith to be based on more than political or economic expediency.16 He enjoyed small comfort for his loyalty now, nor, when fortunes were so low, could he have looked forward to any ease later.

At the Restoration, Cosin returned to his Mastership at Peterhouse, while as Dean of Peterborough he resumed services there; soon, however, in October 1660, he was elected to the see of Durham, being consecrated on 2 December. At Durham, until his death on 15 January 1672, he proved an energetic Bishop, improving and enriching the diocese with lavish building and gifts; he attended as well to the details of diocesan business with watchful interest. Because Cosin was one of the chief survivors of the Laudian regime, he exercised also an important role at the Savoy Conference, and at the Convocation for revising the Book of Common Prayer—not since Cranmer had a single man exercised so much influence on the English liturgy.17

pg xxiIt has been said that Cosin returned from his exile less of a High Churchman than he had been in his younger days,18 but there is little evidence for this. If the Devotions gives us a reliable picture, then Cosin's position in 1627 was in fact a good deal more moderate than the clamour of his Puritan opponents would lead us to expect, while a consideration of his work for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer leads to the conclusion that in 1661 he wanted to go on from where he had left off twenty years before.19 Varied and long as Cosin's life was, it reveals a consistency of doctrine and purpose.

His early love for the Church of the via media finds comparable expression in his later years; his last will reveals him, as we should expect, as firm and unequivocal with respect to Rome as he had always been:

I am now, and have ever been from my youth, altogether free and averse from the corruptions and impertinent newfangled or papistical (so commonly called) superstitions and doctrines, and new superadditions to the ancient and primitive religion and Faith of the most commended, so orthodox, and Catholic Church, long since introduced, contrary to the Holy Scripture, and the rules and customs of the ancient Fathers.20

Equally, his last will reveals his continuing distaste for

the separatists, the anabaptists, and their followers, (alas) too too many, but also the new independents and presbyterians of our country, a kind of men hurried away with the spirit of malice, disobedience, and sedition, who by a disloyal attempt (the like whereof was never heard since the world began) have of late committed so many great and execrable crimes, to the contempt and despite of religion and the Christian Faith.21

His contacts with the continental reformed Churches during his exile left him, if sympathetic, firmly persuaded of their inferiority to the Church of England, which he saw as, of all pg xxiithe reformed Churches, 'both for doctrine and discipline, the most eminent, and the most pure, the most agreeable to Scripture and antiquity of all others'.22 He could, as in his last will, rise above the divisive issues of the day and state:

I take it to be my duty, and of all my brethren, especially the Bishops and Ministers of the Church of God, to do our utmost endeavours, according to the measure of grace which is given to every one of us, that at last an end may be put to the differences of religion, or at least that they may be lessened, and that we may 'follow peace with all men, and holiness'.23

Yet here also his lifelong love for the English Church finds expression as he confesses himself 'most addicted to the symbols, synods, and confessions of the Church of England, or rather the Catholic Church'.24

With an abiding sense of the majesty and holiness of God, Cosin loved liturgical order and beauty in religion, and devoted much of his life and ability to the advancement of these ideals; to this end he offered the splendid chapel at Auckland Castle—the residence of the Bishops of Durham—where he caused his tomb to be inscribed: 'In non morituram memoriam Joannis Cosini, Episcopi Dunelmensis … .'


The Devotions is properly described as a Primer, and belongs, therefore, to an old tradition of Christian devotion, while the provision it makes for the observance of the canonical hours of prayer associates it with an even older and more universal tradition.25

The observance of the canonical hours can be traced back to the time of the early Fathers, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, and Cyprian, when it was a matter of purely private devotion. By the sixth century in the West, however, as the Regula of St. Bernard implies, the daily offices at the canonical hours had become public services, for the lay people pg xxiiiand secular clergy as well as the ascetics. Bernard's elaboration of the existing Roman scheme provides for a daily recitation of Matins and Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. Such a scheme of public observances constituted the Divine Office, which, in various forms, was to be used throughout the West for many centuries.

The individual offices said at the hours followed a general pattern, with an invocation, Psalms preceded or followed by a hymn, antiphons, one or more lessons, responsories, and prayers. Such offices would vary according to the liturgical season as well as the time of day. In the course of time, however, the Breviary, the book in which the various divisions of the Divine Office were collected, became so complicated, with its continually varying texts, that in England in the Middle Ages its use had become restricted almost exclusively to the clergy. Lay observance of the canonical hours of the Divine Office had so much declined by the late fourteenth century that Langland might refer in Piers Plowman to 'the lawe of holy churche':

  • And up-on sonedays to cesse. godes seruyce to huyre,
  • Boþe matyns and messe. and, after mete, in churches
  • To huyre here evesong. every man ouhte.
  • ('C' Text, ed. Skeat, x. 227–9.)

In place of the Divine Office, popular devotion in the Middle Ages found expression in the prayers of the Primer. The origin of the Primer lies in a series of devotions supplementary to the Divine Office, devised as early as the ninth century by the piety of individuals in the Carolingian monasteries. These devotions were gradually and voluntarily adopted in the course of two or three centuries by the secular clergy in many parts of the Western Church, so that by the fourteenth century they had come to be regarded as obligatory, and almost a part of the public daily office itself. They included six basic divisions: offices of the dead, and of the Blessed Virgin pg xxivMary (the latter known as the Little Office), three groups of Psalms (penitential, gradual, and the commendations), and the Litany. The Ancrene Riwle, an anonymous early thirteenth-century work, gives interesting testimony to the growing importance of these supplementary devotions: the author bases the devotional scheme for his three anchoresses entirely on these devotions while making no provision for the use of the Divine Office itself.

Such devotions formed the basis of the book known as the Primer (apparently from the Latin word primarium, for prime) which we first find towards the end of the thirteenth century. The central feature of the early Primers is the Little Office, an invariable form which modified the seven hours of the Divine Office by the frequent use of the Ave Maria, with a choice of other material—canticles, hymns, little chapters—appropriate to the Blessed Virgin (hence the name by which the medieval Primer was most often known, Horae Beatissimae Virginis Mariae). The Primer thus continued to provide for the observance of the canonical hours of prayer; frequently, however, a certain amount of other matter came to be included along with the Little Office and the other basic parts, such as an almanac or table to find the date of Easter, a calendar of saints' days, the Paternoster, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, with brief expositions, one or more edifying treatises, any number of approved special prayers and graces, a form for the confession of sins. Invariably, however, the hours of the Blessed Virgin, and usually some of the other basic constituents, recur in all the Primers of the period. The Primer, in Latin or English or both, could therefore be used to follow at least some of the services recited in Latin in the Church, if not the Divine Office itself. In fact, however, it was probably more often regarded and used as a book of private devotion. Whichever way it was used, the Primer established itself as the prayer book of the English lay people in the Middle Ages, becoming the most widely known book among all classes of pg xxvpeople. It was the book upon which oaths were sworn, as one of the Paston Letters, of 1460, indicates: 'My Maister Fastolf, … by his othe made on his Primer ther, grauntted and promitted to me … ' (ed. Gairdner, I. 539).

During the upheavals of the sixteenth century, the Primer enjoyed an extensive popularity: more than 180 editions appeared during the crucial years from 1525 to 1560, most of them in English (although after 1549, when the Book of Common Prayer first appeared, they can have been useful only for private devotion). Several of these were officially authorized, by Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth, who clearly intended to use them to help establish and protect current theological positions. They reveal the shifting theological emphases of the Reformation. By the time we come to the Elizabethan Primers, for example, the Little Office could in no sense be described as 'of the Blessed Virgin Mary'. Elizabeth put forth her first Primer in 1559, and it appeared in a Latin version, the Orarium, in the following year; it is this 1560 Primer that Cosin notes on his title-page and obviously used as a model. The Orarium provides for the observance of the seven canonical hours, drawing material from the Breviary and the Prayer Book as well as from the Little Office of the earlier Primers, and includes two other basic features of the Primer, the Penitential Psalms and the Litany. Cosin's second acknowledged source is the Primer authorized by Elizabeth in 1564, Preces Privatae, which appeared again in 1568 and, with revisions and additions, in 1573. Here no midday hours appear at all, but only matins and vespers. Both of these Elizabethan Primers include, like many of their predecessors, a large amount of that extra devotional material which made the Primer a means of touching a wide variety of personal and daily requirements.

The growing ascendancy of the Book of Common Prayer during this period, with the accompanying development of private devotions of a more informal, non-liturgical type, pg xxvihelps to explain the virtual disappearance of the Primer after 1564, the few to appear being based on the Preces Privatae and the other official Elizabethan Primers. Cosin's Devotions represents a Caroline revival, the classical Anglican version of the Primer and of the canonical hours of prayer.

Cosin's book must have seemed curious to the well-intentioned and literate layman of the time, brought up to approve a less traditional style of devotion. Nothing like it, apart from various unreformed Primers for the use of recusants, had been published in England for almost fifty years. The new type of Elizabethan prayer book, such as Thomas Becon's The Flower of Godly Prayers (1551) and The Pomaunder of Prayer (1558), John Bradford's Private Prayers and Meditations (1559) and Godly Meditations upon the Lordes Prayer (1562), and John Day's A Booke of Christian Prayers (1578), had stirred the popular spirit. These writers offered their wisdom to meet ordinary, everyday needs. Becon, for example, in The Flower of Godly Prayers, provides prayers which are like little homilies: 'A Prayer against the temptations of the Devil, the World, and the Flesh', 'A Prayer against Whoredom', 'A Prayer against Slandering and Backbiting'. Bradford's Godly Meditations relates practical life to the familiar Christian material, the Lord's Prayer and the Commandments, and gives instruction in Christian life, as in 'A Meditation for the exercise of true mortification'. Often prayers are provided, as in many of the Primers, to see one through the day; thus Day's Booke has 'A Prayer to be said at our first waking', 'A Prayer at our uprising', 'A Prayer at the putting on of our clothes', and so on, to 'A Prayer when we be ready to sleep'.

The considerable popularity of this type of book accounts to some extent for the failure of the Devotions to win such acclaim as one might expect from an age that took new religious books so eagerly to heart. Sought after and admired in a comparatively small circle, it never won anything like the popularity of a contemporary devotional work, Lewis Bayly's The Practice pg xxviiof Piety, which first appeared in 1612, reached its eleventh edition by 1619, and was destined for a fifty-eighth by 1734. Bayly's book (which Bunyan called his favourite) appealed in a different way from Cosin's; Bayly looked back to the popular Tudor books with their prayers fitting many occasions, their meditations on the Faith and directives for pious living, while also providing direction and instruction in prayer but not regular prayers at the traditional intervals. Cosin's Devotions, standing in the ancient tradition of the Primer, was a very different matter. In a small way it does recall the interests of these newer devotional manuals, with their ample provision of occasional prayers: two at least of Cosin's 'Prayers and Thanksgivings for Sundry Purposes' derive from Becon's Pomaunder of Prayer, and a few other prayers are similar in type; yet the Devotions remains essentially and unmistakably a Primer, a somewhat isolated phenomenon in relation to the popular devotional literature of the time.

The Devotions is not, however, fully understood when we have seen its important place in the history of the Primer and its tenuous relationship to popular contemporary devotional literature. It needs to be seen also against the background of Laudian churchmanship which Cosin supported. In describing the character of Laudian devotion, one must recognize a dominant and a minor attitude, a more and a less representative form, though both forms may occur together, in varying proportions, within the same work. In its less representative form, Laudian devotion looked towards contemporary Rome, showing an interest in recusant publications such as A Christian Directorie (1582) by the Jesuit Robert Persons, and in the translations of continental Roman Catholic writers such as St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa, and Luis de Granada. This interest generally involved no doctrinal infidelity, and borrowings from Roman Catholic sources were in the spirit of Hooker's distinction:

pg xxviii

Where Rome keepeth that which is auncienter and better; others whome we much more affect leaving it for newer, and changing it for worse, we had rather follow the perfections of them whome we like not, then in defects resemble them whome we love. (Lawes, v. 28.)

Sometimes, however, doctrines which the Church of England had repudiated at her Reformation were either asserted or implied, as in, to cite perhaps the most extravagant example, Anthony Stafford's The Femall Glory: or, The Life, and Death of our Blessed Lady, the holy Virgin Mary, Gods owne immaculate Mother … (1635).26

In its more characteristic forms, however, Laudian devotion paid little attention to contemporary Rome. Deriving to a large extent from Hooker, with Andrewes and Overall as something like the 'fathers' of the movement, the more typical Laudian churchmanship sought to express, in worship and prayer and liturgy, that essentially reformed Catholicism which many increasingly recognized as the distinctive development of the English Church, and which made it for them, in the words of Cosin's later friend, Sancroft, 'the most glorious Church upon earth'. A frequently wide and profound acquaintance with the early Fathers, an intense sacramentalism, and a firm stress on the liturgical life as provided for in the Book of Common Prayer marked the ethos of this more typical Laudian devotion. Within this ethos Andrewes and Donne preached their sermons, the former framed his Preces Privatae (1648), George Herbert wrote The Temple (1633) and his manual for A Priest to the Temple (1652), Nicholas Ferrar evolved the community at Little Gidding, and Laud sought to establish 'decency and an orderly settlement of the external worship of God in the Church'.27

Among these men there were of course those whose devotional life was not unaffected by contemporary Roman Catholicism, but always the doctrinal norm was that of the Church of England as they understood it, and the liturgical pg xxixbackground that provided by the Book of Common Prayer. While celibacy finds a renewed esteem in Andrewes's praise in his Preces Privatae for 'the beauty of virgins', while his deep sacramentalism shows itself in reference to 'the power of the thrice holy keys and the mysteries in Thy Church', and while his highest aspiration is 'in the holy and catholic Church to have my own calling, and holiness, and portion, and a fellowship of her sacred rites, [and] prayers', there is nevertheless no doubt—the position he took in the controversy with Bellarmine can leave us in no doubt—that such Catholic devotion was for Andrewes part of a full and loyal membership in the Church of England. Likewise with the community at Little Gidding: part of the household's rule possibly derived from that of the Oratories of St. Philip Neri, Nicholas Ferrar could translate a moral treatise by the Belgian Jesuit, Lessius, as well as the 'Divine Considerations' of the Spaniard, Valdez, and the sisters bind a copy of the Introduction to the Devout Life of St. Francis de Sales, yet the whole life of the community was conducted in such a manner as was 'agreable to the Doctrine of the Church of England'.28 Even Laud, who felt able to give official approval to Stafford's floridly Mariolatrous book, was proud to assert that he had lived and should be willing to die 'in the faith of Christ, … as it is professed in the present Church of England'.29 He appealed constantly to the English articles and canons, to the Prayer Book and the Bible, and he went about his improvements to the conduct and setting of public worship with the moderate conviction that, with regard to externals,

too many overburden the service of God, and too few leave it naked. And scarce anything hath hurt religion more in these broken times than an opinion in too many men, that because Rome hath thrust some unnecessary and many superstitious ceremonies upon the Church, therefore the Reformation must have none at all; not considering therewhile, that ceremonies are the hedge that fence the substance of religion from all the pg xxxindignities which profaneness and sacrilege too commonly put upon it. And a great weakness it is, not to see the strength which ceremonies,—things weak enough in themselves, God knows,—add even to religion itself ….30

With much about it that is redolent of older ways, then, the more typical Laudian devotion is yet unequivocally Protestant and shares many of the insights and attitudes of the Reformation.

Within this setting Cosin's Devotions is best understood. He does not hesitate to quote some of the later Catholic theologians, to borrow and adapt from the Sarum liturgical texts, to make use of a little recusant book of prayers, A Manual of Prayers newly gathered out of many … authours … (1583); but his work is, from a doctrinal point of view, firmly in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer. Cosin emphasizes those features of Christian spirituality most strongly reminiscent of the Catholic ethos, and yet he was convinced that his was a position of complete, even especial, loyalty to the Church of England.

One finds in the Devotions many of the most characteristic attitudes of the seventeenth-century High Churchmen. Cosin reveals a wide and sympathetic knowledge of the teaching and practice of the primitive Church 'before Popery'. Besides adducing the testimony of Scripture on many points, he refers with great frequency to the early Fathers and Councils, and to 'the ancient Discipline and religious custome of the Church'. He also draws upon the formularies of the reformed Church of England, and implies throughout that the Church of England is a true and sound branch of 'Christs Catholicke Church'. At the same time we get hints of his understanding of the Reformation in England as a wise and moderate one, and of his disapproval of the unseemliness of Puritan worship and of the corruptions of the Church of Rome. Essentially for Cosin, as for most of the sixteenth-century reformers, and for Hooker, Andrewes, and Laud, the English Church's choice of pg xxxithe middle way is a positive option for primitive and Catholic Christianity.

Cosin shares with his Laudian contemporaries, moreover, a deep reverence for the sacraments, because 'they have Gods marke upon them, being set apart and dedicated to the service of his most Holy and fearefull Name'. He is careful to distinguish between the two 'principall, and truly so called', and the other five which have 'not the like nature'—the Puritan jibe, whereby he was 'Cossens, the 7 sacramentary man', was typically unfair.31 The frequent references to Baptism show that Cosin's attitude is strongly objective: he speaks of it as 'the first regeneration'. In the Holy Eucharist he understands Christ's most blessed Passion and Sacrifice to be 'represented before' God. Cosin also lays great stress upon the liturgy and upon the details of the liturgical year. His 'Precepts of the Church', for example, imply a corporate, organic notion of life in the Church, a life centred upon the liturgy.32 In various places he makes it clear that the Devotions is to be regarded not as a substitute for, but as a complement to, common prayer; and, in fact, one of the most impressive features of his book is the way in which what it provides interlocks with the Book of Common Prayer.

There are many less prominent features which identify Cosin's Devotions as typically Laudian. Among these should be noticed the emphasis on worship and adoration, the 'heavenly duty … of … Daily & Christian Devotions to Almighty God', in which we have 'a perpetuall Communion with the Saints triumphant'; the recommendation that such worship should be 'with the lowly reverence, even of our Bodies also'; the encouragement to auricular or sacramental confession, 'especially before the receiving of Christs blessed Sacrament'; the belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist (the communicant is advised to say 'Amen' after the words of administration); the evident attraction of the 1549 Prayer Book; the strongly 'affirmative' character of the prayers. Cosin pg xxxiialso shows his close kinship with the Laudians in his citation of the Visitation Articles of Andrewes and Overall, the prefatory refutation of 'the common conceit of most Recusant Papists', the attack upon the Sabbatarianism of the Puritans, who on the Lord's Day, 'under a pretence of serving God more strictly than others (especially for hearing and meditating of Sermons), doe by their Fasts, and certaine Judaizing observations, condemne the joyfull Festivitie of this High & Holy day', the attitude of reverence to the King, to 'his sacred power, and his Soveraigne Authoritie over us'. In all of these ways, and in many others, Cosin's Devotions belongs essentially in the Laudian setting.

Cosin also reveals many personal qualities in the Devotions. The stress upon the Passion, its 'extreme sorrow and anguish', but the much greater emphasis upon the goodness and bounty of God and the joyful potentialities of life, 'the blessings of Heaven above, and the blessings of the earth beneath', indicate something of the character of his faith—a faith reminiscent, in this respect, of his near contemporary, Thomas Traherne. The evidence of his knowledge of the Patristic writings demonstrates his considerable learning. The care with which he quotes so many authorities, and, in controversial matters, specifically Anglican ones, points to the importance to him of orthodoxy. His literary ability is also marked in both prayers and prefaces. An analysis of his prayers reveals a variety of structure, rhythm, and language similar to that of the prayers of the Book of Common Prayer, while the frequent scriptural allusions give an additional richness. From the delicate beauty of the brief prayer 'At the washing of our hands', or the Ember prayers 'For the health of our Bodies' and 'In the time of Advent', to the long and splendid 'Prayer and Thanksgiving for the Whole Estate of Christs Catholic Church', Cosin manifests notable skill as a composer and reviser of prayers. His many introductory and explanatory passages—something of an innovation in the Primer—form a pg xxxiiidistinguished series of lucid expositions on a number of topics, in a prose at once concise, dignified, and pleasing. Many of the earlier Primers were untidily put together, often containing matter of little relevance to normal devotional requirements; but the Devotions, with its few rubrical directions precise and useful, its neatness of arrangement and comparative economy of content, is an encouragement to an ordered and unburdened devotional life, and reveals an orderly and practical mind in its compiler.

Finally, we may discover in the relationship of the Devotions to the Book of Common Prayer, to one aspect of which—that of its complementary quality—we have already briefly referred, its most distinctive contribution to devotional literature and to the development of Anglican liturgy. Cosin was not alone of his times in commending the hours of prayer. For example, Andrewes does this in his Preces Privatae and Jeremy Taylor in A Collection of Offices, Or Forms of Prayer in Cases Ordinary and Extraordinary (1658), while Laud's Summarie of Devotions (1667) gives several prayers at the hours for each day of the week. Cosin's is the fullest Anglican version of the hours in Caroline times, but this is not its only distinction. Cosin's particular achievement lies in providing a series of private devotions which are linked to the medieval offices and are alternative (in certain circumstances prescribed in the Preface) to the public prayers of the Church which derive from the same medieval sources. Cosin frequently looked back beyond the Prayer Book of 1549: the offices for matins and vespers in the Devotions, for example, are close to those in the Book of Common Prayer because Cosin and Cranmer drew upon common sources, the Primer and the Breviary. The Devotions thus provides an integral and homogeneous private complement to the common prayer of the Church. That Cosin's compilation should have had a creative influence upon subsequent revision of the Book of Common Prayer is a natural consequence of its unique character.

pg xxxivIII

There are two contemporary descriptions of the occasion of Cosin's coming to compile the Devotions. John Evelyn, in an entry in his Diary dated I October 1651, records a story he says he heard from Cosin himself:

… at the first coming over of the Queene into England she, & her French Ladys, were often up-braiding our Religion, that had neither appointed, nor set forth, any Houres of Prayer, or Breviaries, which Ladies & Courtie[r]s (that have much spare time) might edifie by, & be in devotion, as they had: Our Protestant Ladys scandaliz'd it seemes at this, moved the matter to the King, whereupon his Majestie, presently call'd Bishop White to him, and asked his thoughts of it, & whither there might not be found some formes of Prayer, proper on such occasions, collected out of some already approved formes? that so the Court-Ladys &c. (who spend much time in trifling) might at least appeare as devout, and be so too, as the new-come-over French Ladys, who tooke occasion to reproch our want of zeale, & Religion: Upon which the Bish[o]p told his Majestie that it might be don easily, & was very necessary: Whereupon the K. commanded him to employ some Person of the Cleargy to compile such a Work, & presently the Bishop naming Dr. Cosin: & the King injoynes him to charge the Doctor in his name to set about it immediately: which Mr. Deane told me he did, & 3 monethes after bringing the book to the King, he commanded the Bishop of London to reade it over, & make his report: which was so well liked; that (contrary to former customs [by Chaplan]) he would needes give it a warrant [& Imprimatur] under his owne hand ….33

The second report occurs in Peter Heylyn's biography of Laud:

[There] came out a Book entituled, A Collection of Private Devotions, or the Hours of Prayer, composed by Cozens one of the Prebends of Durham, at the Request, and for the Satisfaction, as pg xxxvit was then generally believed, of the Countess of Denbigh, the only Sister of the Duke, and then supposed to be unsetled in the Religion here established, if not warping from it.34

A wave of fashionable 'Conversions' to Rome was taking place at the Court early in the reign of Charles I. They were, for the most part, sponsored by Endymion Porter's wife, Olivia, and were almost invariably feminine. The Countess of Denbigh was one of the ladies of the Court—she was the first lady of the bedchamber to Henrietta Maria—and she may well have been 'warping from' the 'Religion established' at this time, for she was notoriously unstable in her ecclesiastical allegiance, and did in fact become a Roman Catholic later in life. Probably the Countess was one of the 'Protestant ladys' who, according to Evelyn, complained to the King. It seems that Charles and his advisers hoped that a book of devotion such as that envisaged might help to sustain some of the ladies in their loyalty to the Church of England.

Evelyn's and Heylyn's accounts, of course, complement each other, but neither of them supports Prynne's later assertion that Cosin had already prepared his collection of devotions quite independently 'for his owne private use', nor is there any other evidence for Prynne's statement.35 Cosin's interests certainly lay in this direction, and he would naturally have felt moved to do such a work, his own interest coinciding with the Royal pleasure. Most likely Cosin began his work on the Devotions in November or December 1626; working in considerable haste, he had the book licensed on 22 February 1627, and entered in the Stationers' Register on I March 1627, to Robert Young.36

Although the Devotions did not bear the name of the compiler—Cosin's name does not appear until the ninth edition of 1676, the first edition after his death—there was evidently no secret about his part in it.37 For the group with whom Cosin was associated it was 'a Jewel of great Price and value'38 but to the Puritans it was, in Peter Smart's words, a 'base begotten pg xxxvibratt … that painted fardle'.39 The Puritan reaction, which was especially noisy and outspoken, seems to have affected the second edition of 1627. Cosin altered several controversial points and included a piece entitled 'The Printer to the Reader' in which he explained that the troublesome points were due to 'the Printers haste, or the Correctors oversight', but that these had now been emended. Still later, in September of the same year, 'Observations upon Dr. Cosin's Book … '40 were delivered by Sir Francis Nethersole to the Secretary of State, Lord Conway, who passed them on to the King. This concern demonstrates the effectiveness of Puritan criticism—the authorities were at least sensitive to it.

The full force of the Puritan attack is best evident in the two pamphlets by Prynne and Burton, published between March and June 1628, presumably with the hope of eliciting support from the new Parliament. Prynne, who was to become one of the principal pamphleteers in the Puritan cause, wrote A Briefe Survay and Censure of Mr Cozens His Couzening Devotions. Proving both the forme and matter of Mr Cozens his Booke of Private Devotions, or the Houres of Prayer, lately published, to be meerely Popish …. Burton, who was already deeply involved as a pamphleteer for the Puritans, produced A Tryall of Private Devotions, or a Diall for the Houres of Prayer.41 Prynne's pamphlet is a good example of his work, extremely laborious, without a trace of humour, loaded with learned but often irrelevant notes citing Cosin's 'Popish' sources; Burton's is notable for its naive, racy, and often rather scurrilous style. The gravamen of the Puritan objection to the Devotions becomes clear in these two works. Both complain first of all of the title-page, which, with its 'I H S' motif, is 'Jesuitical'. There are many other offensive points in Cosin's book: the use of the canonical hours; the inclusion of prayers for the dead; references to the ministry of angels; an apparently unsatisfactory distinction made between the two dominical sacraments and the five 'somtimes called' sacraments; the

pg FP3

Engraved title-page of the first edition (1627)


Engraved title-page of the first edition (1627)

pg FP4

pg xxxvii use of words like 'devotion' or 'Catholic', and besides these, many extremely trivial and doctrinally indifferent points.42

Prynne and Burton are hardly representative Puritans, for the former was an extreme eccentric by any standards, and the latter was embittered by his dismissal from a Court appointment; but in their attitude towards the Devotions they are typical of the Puritans of that time, Puritans, that is, in religion and Church policy, who felt that the Reformation in England had not gone far enough and who wished for further reform of the Church from within. The Devotions, with its highly traditional appearance, and in its origins associated with the Court of Charles I, naturally aroused suspicion among such men. They already regarded the Court as virtually Papist because of the presence of Henrietta Maria and her entourage and the papal agents, and feared the great influence at Court of 'Laud's faction'. There were grounds, it at least seemed, for fearing an English Counter-Reformation. Looking neither closely nor fairly at the Devotions, some saw in it confirmatory evidence of such an 'Apostacie from Christ to antichrist', and could charge Cosin (and his friend Mountague) with 'Mountebanke Arminianisme and Cozening Poperie'. Prynne and Burton illustrate well the radical attitude of the religious Puritans. To Burton, trying to put things into some sort of perspective, the King's Primer of 1545 appeared 'in the dawning of the Gospell in England', while the Elizabethan Primers were further measures in the process of reformation, but showing 'a tender regard … of the weaknesse of the time', the last of them, the 1573 edition, being 'yet more exact … as the more distant still from the Horarium' (the 1560 edition). Cosin's Primer, on the other hand, appearing unexpectedly and subversively in 'our aged and noontide seasons of the Gospell', was no less than a step on the way back to Popery, the provision for the observance of the canonical hours importing nothing else 'but a necessitie of bringing in Monkerie and so of erecting cells again'. To pg xxxviiiPrynne the danger implicit in the publication of the Devotions was equally real, for he saw it as a threat to the State. He thereby reminds us of how Puritanism in religion and Church policy almost inevitably merged with political Puritanism: 'Our State Enemies, are no other but our Church Enemies; our State greivances, are but the fruites and issues of our Church annoyances' (sig. A4r). However ill-founded the fears of Prynne and Burton and of many men more reasonable than they, it is easy to understand how, at a time of growing mistrust, when the tensions which finally found expression in the Civil War were mounting, a book like the Devotions should arouse such hostility.

In spite of the vigour of the Puritan attack upon the Devotions and its compiler, the book achieved an immediate popularity in a much wider circle than that offered by the ladies of the Court. The first edition was a small one, perhaps between 150 and 250, but the second and third editions of later 1627 were both much larger, estimates giving 1,000 and 1,500.43 Interest persisted in the Devotions, with five more editions appearing in Cosin's lifetime. After the twelfth edition of 1719, there followed a long period during which acquaintance with the book was evidently very slight, until 1838, when a further edition was published. This renewed interest is to be attributed to the Tractarians' early intention of continuing and reviving the churchmanship of the Caroline divines; to this aspect of the Anglican revival in the nineteenth century we may attribute the publication of a further four editions up to that of 1867, the seventeenth and last edition before this present one.

There are other evidences of the persistent appeal of the Devotions. Cosin's version of the canonical hours was used by at least one of the early English Sisterhoods of the nineteenth century, the Church of England Sisterhood of Mercy of Devonport and Plymouth, while in Bishop Wilberforce's experiment of a retreat at Cuddesdon in 1860 it was again pg xxxixused.44 There have been borrowings from the Devotions, from the seventeenth century to our own time, in other books of private devotion; and the revisions of the Book of Common Prayer, both in 1662, and, in various Churches of the Anglican Communion, in this century, have been influenced by Cosin's compilation.45

This new edition of A Collection of Private Devotions makes once more easily accessible an extended compilation by one of the greatest liturgists of the English Church. The long series of editions through which it has gone, its continued devotional use, and its influence upon other works of devotion and upon the various revisions of the Book of Common Prayer, are a testimony to its persisting appeal. It is a work of considerable interest in several other respects. It stands firmly within an ancient tradition of devotional literature, and is yet in many ways a fresh and individual contribution to that tradition. Its material, as written and revised by Cosin, has for the most part an intrinsic excellence, and much of it could still be used with profit today. It has, too, its own historical interest: the situation in the Court of Charles I which occasioned its compilation, and the character of the Puritan reaction to its publication, provide useful illustrations of the tensions and controversies of the times. It is a fruit of that distinctive English spirituality, Catholic and reformed, of which the Book of Common Prayer is the corporate, liturgical expression, and it provides, in particular, a wide-ranging illustration of the nature of Laudian or Caroline churchmanship and devotion, so exact an illustration, in fact, that we might describe it as the typical Laudian text. Essentially of its time, Cosin's Devotions nevertheless remains a fine witness to

that true Devotion, wherwith God is more delighted, and a good soule more inflamed and comforted, than with all the busie subtilties of the world. In which sense S. Austin was wont to say, that The pious and devout, though unlearned, went to heaven, whiles other men, trusting to their learning, disputed it quite away.

pg xlIV

the text

This edition follows the first one of 1627 in the Bodleian Library, with only a few minor changes. Where the printer has abbreviated a word, such as wch or wth, in order to crowd a line, we have spelled it out. We have not retained the cursive f, or i for j, or v for u. We have silently corrected obvious printer's errors, such as transposed letters. But we have often preferred to give what seemed an error in the text along with an appropriate note about it. The original pagination has not been retained, though the format of the original has generally been preserved. We have made every effort to give a faithful version of the Devotions as Cosin first saw it through the press.

We have collated the first eight editions, all that appeared in Cosin's lifetime, and drawn attention to important printer's variations within an edition, as noted below. We have recorded in the textual notes all variants of any significance. By 'significant' is understood verbal change regardless of change in meaning, but not punctuation and spelling differences unless they alter meaning. Printer's errors are generally passed over except where they are interesting and help to characterize the text, as with the sixth edition.

The texts used for this collation, referred to in the notes by the number of the edition, are as follows:

  • 1627 (1). Bodleian Library.
  • 1627 (2). Bodleian Library.
  • 1627 (3). British Museum.
  • 1635 (4). Jesus College, Oxford.
  • 1638 (5). British Museum.
  • 1655 (6). Peterhouse, Cambridge.
  • 1664 (7). British Museum.
  • 1672 (8). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

The changes of the second and third editions were generally retained through the next three, the sixth edition being pg xliunique especially in its great number of errors; possibly this edition is so faulty because Cosin could not have supervised it, although we cannot be sure how close he was to the printing of any edition after the third. Nevertheless, Cosin would seem to have authorized the Restoration editions which revise Calendar and Collects in accordance with the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer while otherwise mainly restoring the text of the first edition, even to including some of its errors. All earlier editions of the Devotions follow the collects of the 1604 version of the Prayer Book. 'The Printer to the Reader', which appeared in 2, 3, and 6, is reprinted here from the second edition.

Other editions of the Devotions appeared in 1676, 1681, 1693, 1719, 1838, 1843, 1845) and 1867. This last is evidently a new edition of the 'Devotional Portion of the Practical Christian's Library', a series published between 1840 and 1850; but we have not been able to see a copy of the earlier edition. All of these editions, apart from the one published in 'The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology' (1845) as volume II of Cosin's Works, were informally printed as small devotional manuals (usually in duodecimo), without special care or accuracy. The 1845 edition attempted to be scholarly by giving notes and textual apparatus, but the commentary is incomplete and often in error, and the editor included only a few textual variants; moreover, though he mainly used the first edition, he modernized the spelling and also produced a corrupt text. The present edition, therefore, is the first one to give not only the original text but all the variations of the editions in which Cosin could have taken any personal interest, as well as a fuller commentary than has appeared hitherto.

The first three editions of the Devotions offer special bibliographic interest for the indications they provide of the problems of both author and printer. Because of the fierce Puritan response, Cosin took advantage of the second edition to alter many offensive phrases, but he had also made some changes pg xliiwithin the first edition itself. As well as these editions with their variant sheets, there is also a reissue of the second edition. A description of the first edition follows:

12° (engraved t.-p.+) A12 B12 (±B11) C12 D12 (±D12 [= X12]) E-V12 X12 (±X5-X12 [= D12]).

251 leaves, pp. [72] [1–2] 3–2882 [1–2] 3–129 [13] = 502.

The cancels can be identified by the following readings:




Omits the Communion of Saints in the

Includes it.



Has top portion of border 172 & has

Neither border


nor imprint.


Includes 'the succour of all holy

Omits this.

Angels, and the suffrages of all the

chosen of God'.

Page 62 is mispaginated 60; p. 63, 61; 66, 64; 67, 65; 70, 68;    71, 69; 209, 109; 212, 112; 221, 121; 241, 341; 2116, 118;    2117, 119; 2120, 122. X10, 11 are blank.

S.T.C. 5817.

The Bodleian copy has cancellans B11, cancellandum D12 and X12. X5 is a cancellandum leaf from another copy substituted for the original cancellandum.46

Thus we may notice that X5r, The Blessing (p. 295), includes in our edition the offensive references to 'the succour of all holy Angels, and the suffrages of all the chosen of God', but that some copies of the first edition (such as that in the Folger Library) omit them. Since the second edition also contains several significant cancels to which reference is made in the notes, they should be identified as follows:




God / & the Holy Ghost

God, / the Holy Ghost


The dueties

The Dueties


The dueties

The Dueties

pg xliii


thine / elect Children

My / children


may by the ministry of/

may bee received / into thy

thy Holy Angels be

Heavenly Tabernacle

brought up

The Bodleian copy has all the cancellanda and the cancellans leaves A7 C6 Q5. The last variant (p. 230) is another of the points most 'offensive' to the Puritan commentators; a third, which involves no variant sheets, occurs in the final prayer for the dead (p. 281)—the objectionable phrase 'receive this dead body' appeared again only in the seventh edition.

pg xlivNotes

1. The D.N.B. gives 1594, evidently an error. Cosin, in a letter to his secretary Miles Stapleton, of 2 January 1671/2, remarks that he is '76 yeares at St. Andrews day last past'. The letter is one of several, all to Stapleton, in the Peterhouse Library.

Cosin's various writings, chiefly theological, were collected in the nineteenth century in 'The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology' as The Works of … John Cosin (5 vols., Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1843–55. Vol. II contains the Devotions). Much of his correspondence, 'illustrative of his life and times', was published for the Surtees Society under the editorship of George Ornsby (2 vols., Durham, 1869–72). Both collections, but particularly the latter, contain biographical notices based especially on the seventeenth-century 'life' by Cosin's domestic chaplain and preacher at his funeral, Isaac Basire, The Dead Man's Real Speech (London, 1673); and also on Thomas Smith's Vita … Joannis Cosini, included in his Vitae Quorundam Eruditissimorum et Illustrium Virorum (London, 1707). There are of course many contemporary notices of Cosin, especially by his opponents such as William Prynne, in Canterburies Doome (1646), but also by Thomas Fuller in The Church History (1655), where he finds Cosin at fault, and in The History of the Worthies of England (1662), where he craves pardon of Cosin for his earlier 'attack' and prays for his long life. The Durham antiquarian Robert Surtees mentions Cosin in his History of Durham (1843) and the long notice of him in the D.N.B. is by J. H. Overton. But the most recent biographical study, and the only one that attempts fullness, is A Life of John Cosin by P. H. Osmond (London: A. R. Mowbray, 1913), an unimaginative history which mainly summarizes Cosin's published Works and Correspondence. More recently, G. J. Cuming has prefaced his edition of The Durham Book (London, 1961) with a description of Cosin's importance to the liturgical conferences at the Restoration. R. S. Bosher's masterful study, The Making of the Restoration Settlement (London, 1951), contains much illuminating discussion of Cosin's situation, with the other Laudians, during the Paris exile. Cf. chapter 11, 'Anglicans in Exile'. H. Boone Porter, Jr., contributed a valuable discussion of the Devotions to Theology, LVI (February 1953), 54–58: 'Cosin's Hours of Prayer: A Liturgical Review'. L. W. Hanson's bibliographical study of the first three editions is indispensable: 'John Cosin's Collection of Private Devotions, 1627', in The Library, pg xlvxiii (December 1958), 282–7. For a good description of Cosin's ecclesiological achievements, one might see Nikolaus Pevsner's County Durham in the Penguin Series of 'The Buildings of England' (1953), especially pp. 31–33.

2. He was 'admitted to the scholars' table, March 25, 1610'. His tutor was John Browne, a Fellow of the College. Cf. Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College, compiled by John Venn (Cambridge, 1897), I. 207.

3. Smith, Vita, p. 4.

4. Cf. 'The Sum and Substance of the Conferences Lately Had at York House concerning Mr. Mountague's Books … ', in Cosin's Works, II. 17–81.

5. Cosin, Works, I. 93.

6. Ibid., I. 94, Sermon VI: 'Dominica Prima Adventus, Decembris 3, 1616 … in Durham House Chapel, in London.' White had taken part in the first two 'conferences' with Fisher in 1622—Laud met Fisher in the celebrated third and last.

For a discussion of Cosin's sermons, cf. P. G. Stanwood, 'John Cosin as Homilist', Anglican Theological Review, XLVII (July 1965), 276–89.

7. Appello Caesarem, pp. 112–13.

8. Smart, Popish Ceremonies, p. 6.

9. Cf. Commons Debates for 1629, ed. W. Notestein and F. H. Relf ('University of Minnesota Studies in the Social Sciences, 10'), Minneapolis, 1921, p. 36.

10. Ibid., p. 100.

11. Smart's Petition dated 'Novemb. 3. 1640' was read in the House only a week later.

12. Exactly what the ritual at Peterhouse consisted of is not clear; one must rely on reports given often second hand and then by those most opposed to Cosin's practices. Prynne alleges that Cosin had introduced the observance of the canonical hours into Peterhouse, based evidently upon his Devotions, 'as was attested upon Oath by Mr. Le Greese and others' (Canterburies Doome, p. 208). Prynne, in an earlier passage (p. 74), styles this observer 'Master Nicholas le Greise (late Student in Cambridge)', but he is otherwise unidentified.

pg xlviMost of what is known about the Peterhouse Chapel in Cosin's time is described by R. Willis and J. W. Clark, The Architectural History of the University of Cambridge (4 vols., Cambridge, 1886), vol. I, part I, 'Peterhouse', chap, VI, 'History of the Chapel', pp. 45–46, and by Herbert Butterfield, the present Master, in the Victoria County History of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely (1959), III: 'The City and University of Cambridge', 334–40, especially p. 337. Mr. Allan Pritchard has recently noticed among the Harleian manuscripts a more detailed—though Puritan—description of Cosin's Cambridge. He discusses Harley MS. 7019 (in the British Museum) in T.L.S. 2 July 1964: 'Puritan Charges Against Crashaw and Beaumont'. T. A. Walker, the late Peterhouse historian, relates a few of the details of College life during Cosin's Mastership in Peterhouse (Cambridge, 1935), p. 56.

The overwhelming sympathy of Peterhouse lay with the Royalists, but the College did lodge some notable Puritans of whom the best known was John Hutchinson (1615–64), the 'Regicide'. His Life, written by his widow and first published in 1806, describes his five years at Peterhouse from which 'he came away … untainted with those [Arminian] principles or practises' taught by his tutor and by Wren and Cosin. Cf. Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson … Written by His Widow Lucy (3rd ed., London, 1810), I. 78.

13. Cosin's signature appears on a College order, now in the Treasury, dated 2 July 1642, for sending plate to the King. On the forwarding of the plate, cf. J. B. Mullinger, The University of Cambridge … (1911), III. 231–7, 267–8.

14. Cosin was instituted Dean of Peterborough on 7 November 1640. Laud had written to Thomas Morton, Bishop of Durham, on 18 July 1639: 'I have received your letters of July the 3rd, by the hands of Dr. Cosin; and I heartily thank your Lordship for them. For the Doctor, I do very well know his deserts are great, and his means not so. But his Majesty hath a very good opinion of him; and that will, I doubt not, in good time mend his fortunes.' (The Works of William Laud, in 'The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology', Oxford, 1847–62, VI. 567.) Among the charges against Laud which Prynne notices in Canterburies Doome there is his habit of promoting 'popish' and 'superstitious' men, including Cosin (p. 532). But Laud defends himself before this particular accusation (p. 356): 'I presented four of his Majesties Chaplaines in ordinary to his Majestie for the Deanery of Peterborough: His Majesty pitched upon Doctor Cosin in regard his meanes lying in the Bishoprick of Durham was in the Scots hands, and nothing left to pg xlviimaintain him, his wife and children, but a poor Headship worth 40 1. per annum; And out of the same consideration, and no other, did I put his name with his Majesty.' (Cf. Laud, Works, IV. 293–4.)

15. The iconoclast William Dowsing made his famous visit to Peter-house on 21 December 1643, but he makes no mention of Cosin. It is very likely that Cosin had already left by then.

16. 'Whilest he remained in France, he was the Atlas of the Protestant Religion, supporting the same with his Piety and Learning, confirming the wavering therein, yea dayly adding Proselytes … thereunto.' Cf. Fuller, The Worthies of England, p. 295. Cosin in fact seems to have felt more sympathetic to the Reformed Churches as his exile drew on; at least the French Protestants showed more friendliness than the Roman Catholics. In a letter to Richard Watson, dated 19 June 1646, and first printed in 1684 as 'The Right Reverend Doctor John Cosin … His Opinion … for Communicating rather with Geneva than Rome', Cosin says (p. 3): 'It is far less safe to joyn with these men [i.e. the Roman Catholics], that alter the Credenda, the Vitals of Religion, than with those that meddle only with the Agenda and Rules of Religion, if they meddle no farther … .' The letter is republished in Cosin's Works, IV. 385–6. Cosin's only son caused his father some sadness by leaving the Church of England for Rome in 1652. He became a Jesuit Priest while in residence at the English College in Rome, and in 1659 he was sent as a missionary to England.

17. Cf. Cuming, p. xv: ' … with [Matthew] Wren, the most copious contributor to the Prayer Book since Archbishop Cranmer'.

18. The suggestion is made by Osmond, pp. 320 ff., who gives a certain amount of rather flimsy evidence in support of this view, and by Cuming, p. xv, who does not attempt to substantiate it.

19. This is Cuming's estimate in The English Prayer Book 1349–1662, ed. A. M. Ramsey, et al. (London, 1963), p. 110.

20. Cosin, Works, IV. 527. This is Basire's translation of Cosin's Ultimum Testamentum which he published in The Dead Man's Real Speech.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid. v. 526 ('On Confirmation').

23. Ibid. IV. 527.

pg xlviii

24. Cosin, Works, IV. 526–7.

25. The following discussion is indebted to several authorities: E. Bishop, Liturgica Historica (Oxford, 1918); C. C. Butterworth, The English Primers, 1329–1343 (Philadelphia, 1953); E. Hoskins, Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis … (London, 1901); E. C. Ratcliff, 'The Choir Offices', in Liturgy and Worship, ed. W. K. Lowther Clarke (London, 1932); H. C. White, The Tudor Books of Private Devotion (Madison, Wise, 1951), especially chapters III and IV; C. Wordsworth and H. Littlehales, The Old Service Books of the English Church (London, 1904).

26. Stafford gives a florid description of the Virgin's life: her prudence, her beauty are evoked; her Conception, her Purification, her Assumption are imaginatively detailed. In the preface 'To the Masculine Reader', however, he declared:' … if I have swerved in any the least point from the tenents received in the English Church, I shall bee most ready to acknowledge my selfe a true Penitent' (sig. C3r). Stafford's enraptured Life apparently found many friends, for he received the official approval of the Primate and of Bishop Juxon.

27. Laud, 'Epistle Dedicatory' to Conference with Fisher, Works, II. xvi.

28. B. Blackstone, ed., The Ferrar Papers (Cambridge, 1938), p. 55.

29. Laud, Conference with Fisher, Works, II. 373.

30. Ibid., 'Epistle Dedicatory' to Conference with Fisher, II. xvi-xvii.

31. Acts of the High Commission Court within the Diocese of Durham (Surtees Society, 1857), xxxiv. 200. Cosin's careful distinction is in marked contrast with the way in which Robert Shelford, an old alumnus of Peterhouse, in his Five Pious and Learned Discourses (Cambridge, 1635), makes an undifferentiated seven of them: 'Which way soever you turn you, here you shall finde the saying of our Saviour fulfilled, Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousnesse. Desire you new life? here is Baptisme to give it. Are you gone from it? here is the Baptisme of tears and penance to restore it. Want you weapons for the spirituall warre? here is the Catechisme, and Confirmation. Need you food for the new life? here is the bread and wine of Christs body and bloud. Want you supply of vertuous young souldiers? here is Matrimonie and Christian education. Need you leaders and governours?h ere are Christs Ministers. Want you provision for the journey to the high Jerusalem? here is the viaticum of the heavenly Manna expressed in the Communion of the sick' (p. 35). The contrast of this with Cosin's entry on 'The pg xlixSacraments of the Church' points to the difference between what we have called the less and the more representative forms of Laudian devotion.

32. For some illuminating observations on Cosin's 'Precepts', cf. Martin Thornton, English Spirituality (London, 1963), pp. 263–4.

33. Cf. The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E. S. de Beer (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1955), III. 45–46. There is a second version, in all essentials like this one, but dated wrongly (12 October) and apparently written long after the actual occurrence. Cf. Appendix A, pp. 634–6.

34. Cf. Cyprianus Anglicus (London, 1668), p. 173. Jeremy Collier follows Heylyn in his An Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain (London, 1714), II. 714.

35. C. J. Stranks, Anglican Devotion (London, 1961), p. 67, makes the same suggestion, but without reference to Prynne. Cf. Prynne, A Brief Survay and Censure of Mr Cozens His Couzening Devotions (1628), p. 26.

36. There are a number of indications that Cosin did his work in some haste. He told Evelyn that it was done in three months; Prynne says in A Brief Survay (p. 92) that 'the Printer had his written Coppy but by peecemeale, sheete by sheete, and not compleate together'. Prynne also hints at irregularities in the licensing of the Devotions, as does Burton in A Tryall of Private Devotions (1628). For further suggestion that the Devotions was written in haste, cf. the Commentary on the Calendar (pp. 323–4) which quotes Richard Mountague's correspondence with Cosin.

37. It was first attributed to Cosin in a news-letter to Joseph Mead dated 16 May 1627. Cf. T. Birch, Court and Times of Charles I (London, 1848), I. 227, quoted in Cosin's Correspondence, I. 126.

38. Cf. Heylyn, p. 174.

39. Cf. 'Articles … to be exhibited by his Majestie's Heigh Commissioners, against Mr. John Cosin … ', in Cosin's Correspondence, I. 195.

40. Ibid. I. 125–6. 'Observations upon Dr. Cosin's Book, Entitled The Hours of Prayers', S.P.D. [lxxviii. 19]—Charles I. 1627: Sept. 13.

41. Heylyn, loc. cit., describes Prynne's attack in some detail but says nothing specifically about Burton, of whose work 'there was but little pg lnotice taken', although Smart gives equal credit to the two pamphleteers. He says: 'This pedler's pack, going under the name of John Cosin, hath been layd open to the vew of the world by many, but chiefly by 2 very excellent writers, Mr. Burton and Mr. Prinn, who have so wel discovered the hidden cosenage of the false wares, cunningly couched togeather in that painted fardle, that now theare is little danger that any but very ideotts should be deceived therwith' (cf. Cosin, Correspondence, I. 195). Cosin himself seems to have regarded them as equally troublesome, referring to them in a letter to Laud as 'these two barking libellers' (Correspondence, I. 139).

42. Cosin's answers to many of these charges can be seen in a paper entitled 'The Objections which some have been pleased to make against a Booke intituled the Houres of Praier: with briefe Answeres thereunto', included in the Correspondence, I. 127–36. It is endorsed in Cosin's hand, 'For ye Rt. Rd. and my honorable good Lord, The Lord Bishop of Durham', and marked, among the State Papers Domestic [lxv. 72], 1627 [May?]; but this date must be in error since Cosin evidently takes account of the pamphlets of Prynne and Burton which appeared between March and June of 1628. It is therefore likely that Cosin sent this paper not to Bishop Neile, as Ornsby (the editor of the Correspondence) assumes, but to Bishop Mountain who had licensed the Devotions. Mountain was nominated Bishop of Durham, in succession to Neile, on 15 February 1628, although he was further nominated to York on 4 June 1628, probably before the Durham appointment was confirmed.

43. Cf. L. W. Hanson, 'John Cosin's Collection of Private Devotions, 1627', The Library, XIII (December 1958), 284. In a letter to Cosin, dated 2 July [1627], Mountague writes: 'We did in the country talk strangly of your booke before it was commen. But now, for ought I heare, σεσίγηται‎. What they say att London οὐκ ἔχω φράσαι‎, only this, you left order I should have 3, and I could scarce gett one … .' Cf. Cosin, Correspondence, I. 124.

44. The Devotions may well have been used at Peterhouse (cf. n. 12), and at Little Gidding, though there is little evidence for justifying either suggestion. A scurrilous anonymous pamphlet, The Arminian Nunnery (1641), suggests, though not with much conviction, that the Devotions may have been used by the Community at Little Gidding for their night offices: 'They have promiscuous private Prayers all the night long by nightly turnes, just like as the English Nunnes at Saint pg liOmers and other Popish places: which private Prayers are (as it seemes) taken out of John Cozens his Cozening Devotions, (as they are rightly discovered to be by Orthodox men) and extracted out of divers Popish Prayer-Bookes' (sig. B2r). The author may, however, have been merely embellishing his account with appropriately lurid speculations, since his pamphlet is known to have been based on a letter written by one Edward Lenton in 1634, describing a recent visit to Little Gidding, in which he makes no reference to the Devotions. Cf. A. Maycock, Chronicles of Little Gidding (London, 1954), p. 41.

45. Borrowings from the Devotions in the 1662 Prayer Book, most of them by way of The Durham Book, are given below in the Commentary; they are described, but with a few slight inaccuracies, in F. E. Bright-man's The English Rite (London, 1915).

An examination of The Durham Book indicates that, in fact, Cosin intended a good deal more from the Devotions to pass into the Prayer Book at the Restoration than he was in the end able to persuade the revisers to accept. The Durham Book proposals which derive from the Devotions follow. Page references refer first to the number of each Durham Book proposal, followed in some cases by a number in round brackets indicating the stage of drafting—these following Cuming's numbering—and, in square brackets, the page number of the equivalent items in this text.

A Table of the moveable feasts. Rules to know wn the moveable Feasts & holy Dayes begin. 36 (iii, vi); 37, 38 [35]

A Table of ye vigils, fasts, & dayes of Abstinence to be observed in the yeere. 40, 51, 53 [36–37, 305]

times in ye year, wherein Marriages are not usually solemnized. 41 (ii); 53 (vi) [37, 305–6]

Calendar: restoration of the Conversion of S. Paul, and S. Barnabas, to red-letter status. 43 [20, 25]

Calendar: to 'John Evang.' is added 'ante port. Lat.', and to 'S. Peter Apost.' is added '& St. Paul'. 43 [24, 25]

Morning Prayer: the addition of I John I. 9 to the penitential sentences. 62 [235]

Morning Prayer: the canticle headings are expanded to 'this Hymne of S. Ambrose (Te Deum laudamus)' and 'Benedictus (the Song of Zachary)'. 80 (i); 82 (i, iii) [92, 99]

Morning Prayer: the alteration of 'Ponce Pilate' to 'Pontius Pilate'. 85 [100]

Morning and Evening Prayer: alteration of rubric before the three

pg liicollects, to 'Then shall be said the Collect of the day … And these two Collects folowing' 88 (i); 101 (ii) [102]

Morning Prayer. The Second Collect for Peace: O God, Which art the Authour … 89 [102]

Morning Prayer: The prayer, 'Almighty God, who hast promised to heare ye petitions … ', as a conclusion to the Prayers after the third Collect. 92 (ii) [294]

Evening Prayer: the canticle headings are expanded to 'Magnificat (ye Song of the blessed Virgin Mary)' and 'Nunc Dimittis (ye Song of Simeon)'. 97 (ii); 99 [148, 153]

Litany: the addition of 'after Morning prayer' to the introductory rubric. 108 (i) [171]

Litany: the alteration of the opening of 'A Prayer for the Prince, and other the Kings children' to 'Almighty God, the fountaine of all goodnes'. 122 [252]

Litany: various phrases in the altered 'Prayer for the Clergie, & their charge', 'Almighty … God, who didst powre out upon thy Apostles the great & merveilous Gifts of thy H. Spirit, & from whom all spirituall graces & gifts doe proceed, send downe upon our Bishops, the Pastors of thy Church, & all others … '. 123 (i) [116, 261, 263]

Prayers & Thanksgivings upon severall occasions: the first of the two Embertide prayers. 131 (i) [261]

Collects, Epistles, and Gospels: the headings 'The Nativitie of our Lord' and 'Thursday before Easter commonly called Mandie Thursday'. 147 (i); 168 [31, 197]

Collects, Epistles, and Gospels: the ending of the Collect for Easter Even. 172 [201, and see Appendix, 309]

Collects, Epistles, and Gospels: the Collect for the Rogation Days. 181 (i) [260]

Holy Communion: the heading of the prayer for the Church, 'Let us offer up our prayers & praises for the good estate of Christs Catholick Church', and in this prayer various phrases, 'thy holy Name … & the Lights of the World in their severall Generations; most humbly beseeching thee, that we may have grace to follow ye example of. 221 (ii); 224 [284–5]

Holy Communion: the heading, 'The Prayer of Consecration'. 239 (ii); 241 [228]

Holy Communion: the form of the words of administration when 'the Priest that celebrateth, first receive the holy Communion'. 251 (i) [232]

pg liiiHoly Communion: the rubric at the communion, 'And here each person receiving shall say, [Amen.]' 253 [232]

Holy Communion: two of the sentences to be sung during the Communion, Rom. II. 33 and Ps. 103. 1–5. 259 (i) [233]

Holy Communion: Prayer of Oblation, various phrases, 'commanded … most blessed Passion and Sacrifice … into Heaven … now represented before'. 263, 264 [230]

Catechism: the phrase, 'To honour & worship him with ye outward reverence of my body'. 345 (i) [43]

Ordinal: the hymn, 'Veni Creator', 'as tis corrected'. 428 [III]

46. An untraced copy in the hands of Messrs. Robinson of Newcastle in 1845 was used for the text printed in Cosin's Works. This copy lacked Bii and XI. D12 was the cancellans, as was X5. Cf. Hanson, p. 286, whom we have followed for all these bibliographic liv

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Engraved Title-page (plate ii). As shown 1 2 3: new, but similar engraving A / Collection / of / Private devotions, / in / the practice of / the Ancient / Church. / called / the Houres / of Prayer / 4 6: om. 5 7: a new design with Royal Arms, with date Anno 1664 8
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