James I and Charles I
Having been introduced to Richards Sibbes, we will now look at the bigger picture of what’s going on in England about halfway through his life, at the end of Elizabeth’s long reign (1558-1603). At this time, to be English was to be Protestant and to be Catholic was to be treacherous. The growing national sentiment was anti-Catholic, with Catholicism and its practices increasingly fading out of England. Indeed, while Elizabeth’s reign made the nation Protestant, it could not guarantee that its subjects were actually evangelical. Also, as we have seen, the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign (1590s) was hard for the reform-minded Puritans. They now waited for the Calvinist James VI of Scotland to take the throne as James I of England. That is where we pick up the story in this lesson.