40 INTRODUCTION. gentlemens' houses, contrary to the prohibition of the arch- bishop. Aylmer recommended, as their punishment, that they should both be sent into the most barbarous parts of the country, where they might be profitably employed in turning the people from the errors of popery. Mr. Whittingham, dean of Durham, a divine of distinguished eminence, was exercised with many troubles, which con- tinued to the day of his death. In the year 1579, Mr. Lawrence, already mentioned, was suspended by his diocesan. Though repeated interces- sions were made for him, particularly by the lord treasurer, the bishop peremptorily refused to restore him, without a perfect conformity to all the rites and ceremonies. Mr. Merbury underwent a long examination before the high commission, when he was treated with much foul, abusive language. Bishop Aylmer, seldom sparing in bitter in- vectives, called him " a very ass, an idiot, and a fool." He was then sent to the Marshalsea, where he remained a prisoner several years. Aylmer, indeed, was not behind any of his brethren in the persecution of the puritans. - This prelate, to enforce a due observance of the ecclesias- tical orders, cited the London ministers before him no less than five times in one year. On these occasions, he made inquisition whether they truly and faithfully observed all things contained in the Bookof Common Prayer ; whether any preached without a license; and whether any kept private conventicles. In the visitation of his diocese, he inquired of ministers, churchwardens, and sworn-men, in every parish, whether there were any persons who refused to conform, to attend the church, or to receive the commu- nion; and for what cause they refused. He required all ministers to wear the surplice, to keep to the exact order of public service, and to observe all the ceremonies without the slightest alteration. His lordship had no mercy on such as did not comply in every, punctilio ; and warmly declared, that hewould surely and severelypunish offenders, or, " I will lie," said he, " in the dust for it."* This prelate had very little compassion in his nature, and apparently as little regard for the laws of the country, or the cries of the people for the word of God. There was a great scarcity of preachers in all parts of England; and even the city of London was now in a most lamentable state, as appears from their petition to parliament, in which Strype's Aylmer, p. 64, 65, 81-83.