I Would Still Worship

From Speech given in Star Chamber, June 14, 1637.

I am bound to worship with body as well as in soul whenever I come to a place where God is worshiped.  And if even if there were no tables in their proper places in the whole of our land, then I would still worship God on entering his holy house.  And if we lived in an age in which all churches were broken down… then I would still worship.  But this is the misery: it is now considered superstitious for a man to come with more reverence into a church than a tinker and his dog come into an ale house. 

William Laud (1573-1645) was Archbishop of Canterbury during the turbulent final years of the reign of King Charles I. Laud was a strong advocate of episcopacy and ceremonial worship, and clashed repeatedly with the Puritans. His 1637 speech in Star Chamber, a special court for cases of sedition and treason, was delivered in response to a series of Puritan pamphlets that attacked his teaching. After the English Civil War began, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and was executed by order of Parliament. He is commemorated on January 10 on the calendars of several Anglican churches. 


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