This paper is a work in progress. It is not to be cited or quoted without the permission of the author.

'Kiss me with the kisses of his lips': blurred masculinity in early modern spirituality

Tom Webster

In a work of practical divinity notable for its typicality, the Puritan minister Thomas Brooks pressed his congregation to practice self-examination. Only by 'a serious examination of a man's own estate, he may know whether he be Christ's spouse or the devil's strumpet, whether there be a work of grace upon his heart or not'.[1] It is the former, positive, analogy that will be the centre of attention here rather than the latter, for nuptial imagery applied to and accepted by godly men proves to be very common once one becomes sensitised to it. And, it should be stressed, this is not a matter of ministers spraying mixed congregations with a variety of analogies in the hope that different ones would strike true with different sections of their flock. In a sermon delivered to MPs during a fast held by the House of Commons, plainly an exclusively male congregation, Stephen Marshall pleaded with them to maintain orthodoxy, using the following image: 'As a man who finds his wife faithfull in the marriage bed, judgeth that she loves him, and that her heart is one with his .... Thus with you, they are are interpreted to keep all his commandments'.[2] This was a plea following a more positive image delivered by Marshall's friend, Cornelius Burges, in a sermon delivered to the same people on the same day. For Burges, the covenant between God and the magistrate was that 'this joyning of ourselves to the Lord, is such, as is made by marriage; ... and admits us to the participation of all the most intimate, neerest and choysest expressions of the deerest Love of God, which can be found between the husband and the wife'.[3] A recurring appetite for the imagery of the Song of Songs can be explored as a source for the negotiation of godly masculinity in public and private, a route to a greater appreciation of the multi-faceted, and usefully unstable, nature of masculine Puritan identity. We will move geographically to produce a short case-study of one individual, the Scot Samuel Rutherford and then temporally to apply a similar analysis to the spirituality of the Scottish revivals of the eighteenth century.

As will become evident, the self-application of the nuptial imagery of the Song of Songs was, for godly ministers, a matter wrought with anxiety. Early modern masculinity was a fragile affair; one of the many criticisms of theatre by the puritans related to the matter of men taking on women's roles, for the practice of transvestism entailed the risk of 'degeneration' of masculinity, a risk exacerbated by the inherently friable nature of the godly self.[4] As William Prynne put it, 'Doth not that valiant man, that man of courage who is admirable in his armes, and formidable to his enemies degenerate into a woman with his veiled face? he lets his coate hange downe to his ankles, he twists a girdle about his breast, he puts on women's shoes, and after the manner of women, he puts a caule upon his head; moreover he carries a distaff with wooll, and draws a thread with his right hand, wherewith he had formerly borne a trophye, and he extenuateth his spirit and voyce into a shriller and womanish sound'.[5] This is evidence of a more general disquiet about gender relations in the period. Susan Amussen has argued that this is a transitional age for masculinity, particularly fraught with tension as gender boundaries were seen to be dangerously fluid, partly due to the dominance of the idea of the 'one-sex' body.[6] In terms of the clergy, to adopt gender reversal was especially dangerous, for to lose 'proper' masculinity would be, of course, to remove the possibility of fulfilling their vocation.

Thus it becomes clear that we will understand the identity and experience of the early modern clergyman only if we remember that he was exactly that: a clergyman. The identity of the cleric has to be understood as drawing upon and relating to conceptions of masculinity and femininity.[7] Even a superficial discussion reveals ambivalences in clerical discourse that have profound consequences for identity, piety and experience. The Reformation, of course, had considerable effect on the question of the gender implications of the priesthood. No longer were priests members of a separate and celibate estate. While the priest no longer stood in for, and represented, the God made male flesh, the marriage of the clergy drew attention to their masculinity, reduced the sexual ambivalence of the pre-Reformation priesthood and perhaps made more likely the addition of masculinist authority to the clerical estate. In addition, this question cannot be completely separated from the changing social position of the clergy. This issue is still much debated, but it seems not unreasonable to suggest that for the university-educated elite, into which the vast majority of the clerics discussed here fell, the godly ministry was enjoying a period of rising social status, moving towards the position described by Brian Heeney as 'a different kind of gentleman'.[8]

In this situation, it is possible to see the minister as a type of masculinity writ large, a kind of superman. He draws fully upon the authority and power of patriarchy supported, to a large degree, by biblical sources. The cleric drew identity above all from speaking, predominantly in the sermon, speech invested with the authority implied in 'the Word of God.'[9] The contrast with the Pauline injunction on women's silence in church is starker than for any other men. In contrast to the ideal type of their female charges, the godly clergy were active, in the world, with a public duty. They earned the honorific title 'Master', and were accorded, by virtue of their office, a degree of the honour so central to early modern masculinity. In addition, many of the epithets applied to the godly clergy have clear masculine connotations: charioteers, prophets, apostles and even gods. One demand for reform pleaded for ministers as 'Gods Messengers and Embassadors'.[10] Another saw ministers as ambassadors, fathers, guides, builders, warriors, prophets and shepherds in one paragraph.[11] Richard Baxter compared his role to that of physicians and lawyers but most often to that of military men.[12] Thomas Hooker was comparatively modest in his version: 'I am a poor ambassador sent from God to do his message unto you; and although I am low, yet my message is from above.' Smectymnuus used the same image with less modesty: 'all Ministers are Gods Messengers and Embassadours, sent for the good of the Elect'. When Hooker returned to the subject on another occasion, the task required masculine physique: 'the minister must hew your hearts, and hack them, he must frame and fashion your soule before they can be prepared'.[13] For Robert Pricke, ministers 'are called Spirituall Fathers, because they begette and change men anew'.[14] John Collinges referred to ministers as spiritual fathers, prophets and ambassadors. He went on to describe John Carter as 'the Lords Vinedresser, the Shepherd of the Flock,' and turned to a slightly less flattering image of leadership with the minister as 'a Belweather which leads the Flock of Sheep'.[15]

On the other hand, there is a strong element in clerical discourses that works against the clergy's place in contemporary masculinities. The idea of 'ministry' placed clergymen in a number of roles that were antithetical to early modern masculinity. Both social and gender positions were undercut by the traditional ban, usually observed by parochial ministers, on clerical hunting and the usual exclusion of the godly clergy from office-holding, a source of male honour in this society.[16] The familiar coupling of 'magistracy and ministry' can be read as a gendered binary opposition, the former to the latter as male to female, despite the reverse instance noted above. Indeed, these examples reveal a rare attempt by the clergy to place themselves in positions of authority over the magistracy, an attempt licensed by the liminal space of the fast. In 'normal' circumstances, 'ministry' has connotations of service and placed the clergy in roles of nurturing and caring; the sacraments, despite Reformation changes, still placed the clergy as providers of food and sustenance; spiritual comfort, a central role of the pastoral clergy and the whole rhetoric of service modified clerical masculinities. The image of Christ as the husband of the Church, for instance, gave clergymen a range of positions. On the one hand, it provided ministers with the image of a role as proxy husband.[17] Christ's proposal could also be discussed with the ministry as the best man.

The Church as it is the house of God; so it is also the spouse of Christ: Ministers are the friends of the Bridegroom, and of the Bride. The ministers have done their work in preparing the Bride for the Bridegroom; as also in ministering to her when she is marryed. But in Betrothing her to Christ, the Bride in that work, must herself profess her own acceptance of the Lord Jesus, and subjection to him.[18]

Less moderate preachers could take the gender reversal possibilities a little further. Some could go so far as to present the ministers as breast-feeding mothers. For one, the minister is 'a Father to beget us with the immortal seed of the word, a Mother to nourish us up in the same'.[19] George Gifford, the preacher at Maldon, used this analogy: 'Wee doe all know this, that when a childe is borne, if it be alive and in health, howe much it doth covet the mothers breast, and howe sweete the milke is to it; in the like manner, when a man is borne of God in the new and heavenly birth, he hath a vehement desire and longing after Gods word, it is marvellous sweete and delectable unto him ... We must labour therefore by reading and hearing the word preached, by meditation and earnest prayer to come to the true understanding and right use of the sacred word of God.'[20] According to Thomas Shepard, 'Dish milk and slit milk may convey some nourishment, but breast milk hath spirit going with it; good books may be blessed, but there is not that spirit in them as in lively dispensations of the gospel by ministers themselves.'[21] For John Collinges, ministers 'are Fathers and Mothers too, Gal. 4.19. My little Children (saith Paul) with whom I travel in birth, till Christ be formed in you. Gal. 4.29. They are nursing Fathers, and nursing Mothers. The word is the Saints milk. As new born Babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. 1 Pet. 2.2. If the word be milk, the Ministers mouth is the breast, through which this milk runs into the bowels of the people.'[22] John Cotton agreed when he wrote: 'In the hearing of the Word, we are come like New born babes, desiring the sincere milk of the word.'[23] This image, an adaptation of I Corinthians 3.1-2, was so common that it provided the title for a series of catechisms by godly ministers. William Crashaw, Henry Jessey, Hugh Peter and John Syme are among the clerics who issued a pamphlet called Milk for Babes or something similar.[24] Samuel Crook was said to have 'adminstred ... rationall unadulterated milk for babes in Christ, ... and strong meat for grown men'.[25] In a passage disparaging silent ministers, Arthur Hildersham complained that 'it were as intollerable bondage and tyranny to bind Gods people to rest upon the ministry of such as can not instruct them, as it were to compell infants to abide with such nurses as have neither sucke nor foode to give them'.[26] Less frequently, ministers working for the reformation of the church might be mid-wives: 'This is the day of the Churches travel, and she hath a hard labour to bring forth a settlement of truth, and reformation: the Ministers of the Gospel are as Midwives, to facilitate the birth.'[27] These various roles, each with gendered inflections, were listed in a parenthetical address ad clerum by Joseph Bentham:

You fathers begetting, 1 Cor 4.14. Mothers travailing in birth, Gal. 4.19. And nurses, 2. Thess. 2. Feeding soules to eternal life: You Shepheards to draw waters out of the wels of salvation, not for beasts, but men:... You Ambassadors of the Lord of Glory, co-workers with, and labourers for God: Angels of the Churches; salt of the earth; lights of the world; and men of God.[28]

In short, clerical masculinity was ambivalent. A space was opened up where ministers could see themselves in female roles and accordingly, in certain circumstances, appropriate 'women's symbols'.[29] Indeed, as will emerge, it may not be excessive to argue that clerical piety drew upon, was perhaps even structured through, a series of male/female oppositions which the clergy were able to negotiate through the ambivalence of their gender identity.

The move from the public stance of the preacher to his private spirituality is perhaps best effected through making it clear that ministers themselves can be the bride of Christ. Peter Bulkeley explained that it 'is a marriage-covenant that we make up with God, therefore we must doe as the Spouse doth, resigne up our selves to be ruled and governed according to his will'. The relationship between a Christian and God could be summed up 'as it is betweene man and wife, though shee be foolish, passionate, and wilfull; yet these doe not breake the Covenant of marriage, so long as she remained faithfull'. For Thomas Shepard, the role of a subordinate wife was a source of comfort. 'Weaknesses do not debar us from mercy, nay, they incline God the more. The husband is bound to bear with the wife, as being the weaker vessel; and shall we think God will exempt himself from his own rule, and not bear with his weak spouse?'[30] What emerges here are the advantages possessed by women in the eyes of godly clergymen. Humility and subordination were spiritually valuable and, if a woman was trained correctly, these were things that came naturally. As Daniel Rogers put it:

Nature hath put a fircenesse into the female ... therefore the she-Beare and the Lyonesse are the most raging and cruell. But grace make that natural impotency of the woman, turne impotency for God ... their nature (being fearfull) hath ever been prone to superstition ... Men's spirits are hardier, doe not so easily feare Majesty, tremble at judgements, beleeve promises, shun sinne, love God, as women: so that when they are in the way, none are better.[31]

Thus, according to the godly clergy, the weaknesses and dangers of femininity could be turned into sources of valuable obedience and a useful sense of inadequacy. At its worst, this led to gender reversal in times of a sense of distance between God and the minister. At a bad time, Thomas Shepard expressed his low state in these terms:

I was not sensible of glory, love, beauty, majesty. And hence I had no sense of God. And hence I saw with sadness my widow-like separation and disunion from my Husband and God, and that we two were now parted that had been nearer once.[32]

However, the gender reversal appears more often in positive moments. After Samuel Rogers had suffered a long period of spiritual insecurity, he found solace in illness, a comfort that was usually associated with women.[33] At one point, he noted in his diary: 'The lords hand is upon me in a 5. fit; but gentler still; I find my heart ready to be weary, and cast downe, but I gather up my selfe in the Lord, and have new comfort, and strength in him'.[34] Far more frequently, he recorded his comfort in forms drawn directly from the Song of Songs: 'I lye downe in thyne armes'; 'I find abundance of gods presence for my heart lyes in his armes'.[35] Through illness, he found the prescribed female passivity that made him appreciate the mercy of God.

This was the only occasion covered in his diary that Rogers benefited from illness, but throughout his records he pleaded for humiliation through Canticles. 'Oh that my husband would kisse mee, with the kisses of his mouth and refresh my pore decayed soule and raise it up somewhat'; 'when shall I lye in the embraces of Jesus Xt; when will he kisse mee with the kisses of his mouth, amongst those that excell in vertue'.[36] After one good sermon, he made the connection explicit:

Something refreshed by mr Fullers sermon marriage of Xt, and ye soule; and by the communion of saints; oh more brokeness, tenderness, sweetness in thy love, some of the marriage love of my husband.[37]

More often, the power of gender reversal and the Song of Songs was so deeply inscribed that it cam automatically when Rogers came to spiritual comfort. 'I will lye downe in the armes of g.[od] who hath spoken peace to me, and hath supported me.'[38] It may have been especially attractive to Rogers. A critical plank in masculinity was a sense of independence,[39] a sense unavailable to a young chaplain to a gentry family, as Rogers was for the period covered by his diary. However, this does not prove to be universally applicable. In a moment of supreme humility, in dealing with the inevitability of death in the introduction to his will, Robert Bolton, an established parochial minister, turned naturally to the parable of the ten virgins. His conclusion was that 'I have thought it my duty (that I may the more readily accompany the bridegrome with my lampe light at whatsoever houre of the night he shall come) to dispose of those things wherew[i]th God hath blessed me by this my last will and testament'.[40] It seems that the ambiguities of the clerical space opened a space for the comfort through gender reversals. It seems to have been a predominantly clerical emphasis, a subject to which we will return. Jerald Brauer, for instance, noted that it was a favoured approach of the layman, Francis Rous.[41] Another lay person who took the image to her heart was Joan Drake, a troubled woman who received guidance from the godly ministers John Dod, Thomas Hooker, John Preston and James Ussher. When her mother visited, she found her daughter all dressed in white; she asked why this was so, and Joan replied: 'So I am Mother (said she) a Bride now trimmed for Christ the Bridegroome', requesting that she should be buried in these clothes.[42] Although the image was generally absent from the diary of Robert Woodford, at the end of the volume he recorded a prayer from 1640, describing himself as 'thy poore creature, to whom thou hast given not sense & reason but hast caused also thy spirit to breake upon me & hast embraced me in the everlasting armes of thy love, & kissed me with the kisses of thy mouth'.[43] At this point, the main lesson we may take from this form of spirituality is the strenuous, painstaking, almost punishing examination of godly piety, deliberately fostering a sense of humility and inadequacy in the individual saint.


It might be complained that the treatment of the nuptial imagery so far has been a little too focused, almost monomaniacal, hardly representing a full exploration of the possibilities offered by the Song of Songs. To broaden the analysis, it proves useful to trace the theme in the epistles of Samuel Rutherford, the primary theologian, political theorist and minister of mid-seventeenth century Scotland. Canticles and the sensuous imagery offered therein was such a prominent element in his spirituality, both internal and pastoral, that, according to an eighteenth-century source, his published letters were employed as a pornographic reading source (although whether this is a recognition of potential eroticism or a judgement on the limitations of the press is open to debate).[44]

In pastoral terms, Rutherford turned to the attractions of the Bride of Christ on many occasions. There is a considerable gender imbalance in the recipients of this advice, the vast majority directed to his female correspondents. However, this may simply reflect the fact that most of his letters were to women; whether this was a consequence of his spirituality or these circumstances encouraged him to employ the Song of Songs disproportionately is rather a chicken and egg question. In any case, his pastoral work seems to have been very successful, for his work in this area is voluminous. Much of the advice is for patience, a matter of being betrothed rather than being married, the consummation to come on Judgement Day. Marion McNaught was encouraged to 'wait upon the times of the blowing of the sweet south and north wind of His gracious Spirit, that may make you cast a sweet smell in your Beloved's nostrils; and bid your Beloved come down to His garden, and eat of his pleasant fruits' Song of Songs 4.16.[45] For Viscountess Kenmure, it is noteworthy that Christ was characterised by a principle part of masculinity, an unmistakeable voice:

For this is the house of wine, where ye meet with your Well-Beloved. Here it is where He kisseth you with the kisses of His mouth, and where ye feel the smell of His garments; and they have indeed a most fragrant and glorious smell. Ye must, I say, wait upon Him, and be often communing with Him, whose lips are as lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh, and by the moving thereof He will assuage your grief; for the Christ that saveth you is a speaking Christ; the Church knoweth Him by His voice Song of Songs 2.8, and can discern His tongue amongst a thousand.[46]

There is still a sense of anticipation, but one which mixes with what verges on an implied sexual relationship in slightly later advice to Kenmure: 'When your Head shall appear, your Bridegroom and Lord, your day shall then dawn, and it shall never have an afternoon, nor an evening shadow. Let your child be Christ's; let him stay beside you as thy Lord's pledge, that you shall willingly render again, if God will.'[47] This was taken to its furthest when the Viscountess became a widow, with his comfort almost tending to be celebratory:

I trust your Lord shall remember that, and give you comfort now at such a time as this, wherein your dearest Lord hath made you a widow, that ye shall be a free woman for Christ, who is now suiting for marriage-love of you. And therefore, since you lie alone in your bed, let Christ be as a bundle of myrrh, to sleep and lie all the night betwixt your breasts, Song of Songs 1.13 and then your bed is better filled than before.[48]

On occasion, however, the vision was gender-free, although it might be noted that the following instances were both in letters to women. To Lady Culross, 'O that all the virgins had part of the Bridegroom's love whereupon He maketh me to feed!'[49] In a particularly visionary missive to Lady Kilconquhair, his counsel was as follows.

But let us come near, and fill ourselves with Christ, and let His friends drink, and be drunken, and satisfy our hollow and deep desires with Jesus. Oh, come all and drink at this living well; come, drink, and live for evermore; come, drink and welcome! "Welcome," saith our fairest Bridegroom.[50]

Part of the attraction of this imagery is that it provided a vivid collection of ways of differentiating between intellectual and 'real' experiences of Christ, the latter clearly being preferable. Stephen Marshall thus identified two forms of the knowledge of spiritual life: the first was theoretical, the second, 'experimental, and practical, and real and convincing. Now the notional knowledge ... by the Common light that accompanies the Ministry of the Word, may break in upon some men; but for the experimental, real inward knowledg of it, they will be strangers to it.'[51] Similarly, for Rutherford, those with notional conversion 'talk of Christ by the book and the tongue, and no more; but to come nigh Christ, and hause close with, clasp round the neck Him, and embrace Him, is another thing.'[52] This search for experiential veracity makes the sensual nature of many of his comforts more comprehensible. Often it is a matter of the sense of perfume: 'the King's spikenard casteth a fragrant smell [Song of Songs 1.12].'[53] As a reward for the fact that 'I gave fair warning of all the corruptions now entering into Christ's house,' he received 'many a sweet, sweet, soft kiss, many perfumed, well-smelled kisses, and embracements have I received of my royal Master. He and I have had much love together.'[54] On other occasions, the joy is visual: 'My Well-beloved is altogether lovely'; 'one smile of Christ's God-like and soul-ravishing countenance' is beyond any 'worldly price'.[55] At its best, closeness to Christ stimulated many of the senses. 'I would seek no more happiness than a sight of Him so near-hand, as to see, hear, smell, and touch, and embrace Him.'[56] There was an intense desire for the communion to be without end, almost an impatience that it was not yet so.

Oh, but it is long to that day when I shall have a free world of Christ's love! Oh, what a sight to be up in heaven, in that fair orchard of the new paradise; and to see, and smell, and touch, and kiss, that fair Field-flower, that evergreen Tree of Life! ... Christ, Christ, Christ, nothing but Christ, can cool our love's burning langour. O thirsty love! wilt thou set Christ, the well of life, to thy head, and drink thy fill? Drink, and spare not; drink love, and be drunken with Christ! Nay, alas! the distance betwixt us and Christ is a death. Oh if we were clasped in each
] other's arms! We should never twin separate again, except heaven twinned and sundered us; and that cannot be.[57]

Rutherford tested his capacity for hyperbole to communicate the sensuous joy of union with Christ:

And oh, what a fair One, what an only One, what an excellent, lovely, ravishing One, is Jesus! Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colours, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness, in one: oh, what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less to that fair and dearest Well-beloved, Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Oh, but Christ is heaven's wonder, and earth's wonder! What marvel that His bride saith, "He is altogether lovely!" [Songs of Songs 5.16.][58]

That this linguistic challenge could never be met took him into the depths of sensuality and to a heightened sense of his own lack and desert.

What heaven can be there liker to hell, than to lust, and green desire, and dwine pine, and fall a swoon for Christ's love, and to want it? Is not this hell and heaven woven through-other? Is not this pain and joy, sweetness and sadness, to be in one web, the one the weft, the other the warp? Therefore, I would that Christ would let us meet and join together, the soul and Christ in each other's arms. Oh what meeting is like this, to see blackness and beauty, contemptibleness and glory, highness and baseness, even a soul and Christ, kiss each other! Nay, but when all is done, I may be wearied in speaking and writing, but, oh, how far am I from the right expression of Christ of His love? I can neither speak nor write feeling, nor tasting, nor smelling: come feel, and smell, and taste Christ and His love, and ye shall call it more than can be spoken. To write how sweet the honeycomb is, is not so lovely as to eat and suck the honeycomb Song of Songs 5.1. One night's rest in a bed of love with Christ will say more than the heart can think, or tongue can utter.[59]

The sense of failure and an unearned love very clearly links us back to the sense of humility sought after by the godly. The godly self was to be closely watched, enhancing the perception of one's own inadequacy. Thomas Taylor demanded that 'all selfe-respects, selfe-seeking, selfe-aymes must be renounced and the Christian wholly vanish into nothing'.[60] Self-denial or, as Stephen Marshall put it, 'continuall self-abhorrency',[61] was intended to create a vacuum that might be inhabited by divine plenitude. However, Marshall recognised that the state of selflessness, even with the aid of the Holy Spirit, is an unattainable goal: even a preoccupation with righteousness is a way of life with Self as an end, 'whosoever sic I make use of, it is my self that I set in the throne'. The solution is a degree of denying self-reflexivity: 'study to know what thy sins are, and who thou art, that art a sinner'.[62] The disciplines of self-denial and self-examination are designed to turn the necessary condition of selfishness to the creation of a self-abnegating selfhood. For Rutherford, the Song of Songs provided what almost amounts to an escape clause, as a route to, and recognition of dependency and passivity normally unavailable to early modern masculinity.

It comes as no surprise then to find sickness play a part in this search, as we have seen with Samuel Rogers. Rutherford's illness, however, is largely metaphorical. At one point, while he was celebrating Christ's presence, his desire seems almost beyond satiety: 'I have for the present a sick dwining life, with much pain, and much love-sickness for Christ.'[63] First in his list of things that moved him 'since it hath pleased my Lord to turn my moon-light into day-light', was the following: 'He hath yoked me to work, to wrestle with Christ's love; of longing wherewith I am sick, pained, fainting, and like to die because I cannot get Himself; which I think a strange sort of desertion. For I have not Himself, whom if I had, my love-sickness would cool, and my fever go away; at least, I should know the heat of the fire of complacency, which would cool the scorching heat of the fire of desire. (And yet I have no penury of His love!) And so I dwine, I die, and He seemeth not to rue take pity on me.'[64] The opening masculinist image of wrestling might be noted but there is also a note of unsatisfied desire, an ever-heightened demand, almost a whinge, with an implicit recognition of the desirability of delay. At a later point, the latter is given the emphasis and made more explicit: 'I have a dwining, sickly, and pained life, for a real possession of Him; and am troubled with love-brashes fits and love-fevers; but it is a sweet pain.'[65]

Rutherford proved to be more successful in experiencing the joys of dependency and passivity when he had a certain dependency imposed upon him when he was sent into internal exile in Aberdeen: 'It pleaseth my Well-beloved to dine with a poor prisoner'.[66] His spiritual discomfort was eased even with the prospect of this exile. Shortly before his departure, he assured Marion McNaught that 'I am well and my soul prospereth. I find Christ with me. I burden no man; I want nothing; no face looketh on me but it laugheth on me. Sweet, sweet is the Lord's cross. I overcome my heaviness. My Bridegroom's love-blinks fatten my weary soul.'[67] He was soon to mix his Scriptural tropes, claiming that he knew 'no other way how to glorify Christ, but to make an open proclamation of His love, and of His soft and sweet kisses to me in the furnace, and of His fidelity to such as suffer for Him.'[68] A positive role of satisfaction in adversity was beginning to emerge. Impotence and (forced) passivity improved his capacity to employ his spiritual impotence and passivity.

If I had a lease of Christ of my own dating (for whoever cometh nigh-hand, and taketh a hearty look at Christ's inner side, shall never wring nor wrestle themselves out of his love-grips again), I would rest contentedly in my prison, yea, in my prison without light of sun or candle, providing Christ and I had a love-bed, not of mine, but of Christ's own making, that we might lie together among the lilies, till the day break and the shadows flee away [Song of Songs 2.17]. Who knoweth how sweet a drink of Christ's love is! Oh, but to live on Christ's love is a king's life![69]

He is taken to such spiritual heights that he almost pities those in the kingdom who are free: 'Oh, if all the kingdom were as I am, except my bonds! They know not the love-kisses that my only Lord Jesus wasteth on a dawted [fondled] prisoner.'[70] He is happy to relinquish central parts of his masculinity; first, his physique (and his active role as a wooer): 'It was not my flattering of Christ that drew a kiss from his mouth. ... If He bear me on His back, or carry me in his arms over this water, I hope for grace to set down my feet on dry ground, when the way is better.'[71] Finally, he finds comfort in the loss of the central element of clerical masculinity, speaking, that is, preaching the Word of God: 'My dumb Sabbaths broke my heart, and I would not be comforted. But now He whom my soul loveth is come again, and it pleaseth Him to feast me with the kisses of His love.'[72] In his sufferings from political vagaries, he finds an almost unprecedented pleasure.

I cannot but write to my friends, that Christ hath trysted met me in Aberdeen; and my adversaries have sent me here to be feasted with love banquets with my royal, high, high, and princely King Jesus. Madam, why should I smother Christ's honesty? ... I shall not again quarrel Christ for a gloom frown, now He hath taken the mask of His face, and saith "Kiss thy fill;" and what can I have more when I get great heaven in my little arms? Oh how sweet are the sufferings of Christ for Christ![73]

Once we recognise that Rutherford's imposed worldly passivity was necessary to take him beyond any remnant of reluctance to fully embrace spiritual passivity, it proves fruitful to read these moments with a sensitivity to the depth of his activity. In the last instant, for instance, he is at his most passive, but it is noteworthy that he is still invited to 'Kiss thy fill', that is, he is not simply a recipient. In the following passage, there is a certain diffidence in his passivity when he stresses that, if he had the choice, he would not exchange Christ's love for the best of worldly goods. The very last sentence virtually empowers Rutherford through a mutual love, a reciprocity that almost makes Christ and Rutherford's soul equals. Having almost accused him of a spiritual audacity, of having 'got above himself,' he is licenced, or licenses himself by directly quoting Scripture, rather than simply alluding to it.

I would not want the visitations of love, and the very breathings of Christ's mouth when He kisseth, and my Lord's delightsome smiles and love-embracements under my sufferings for Him, for a mountain of gold, or for all the honours, court, and grandeur of velvet kirkmen. Christ hath the yolk and heart of my love. "I am my Beloved's, and my Well-Beloved is mine." [Song of Songs 6.3][74]

Scripture also gave Rutherford wine, or drink generally, as a route to passivity and joy, implicitly or explicitly, and in different ways. It was implicit in advice to his female pastoral charges, as in advice to Lady Kenmure, directing her to the 'house of wine, where ye meet with your Well-Beloved.'[75] It could be a matter of contrast, when he enthused about 'my Bridegroom's kindness, whose love is better than wine' Song of Songs 1.2.[76] At its most positive, he is invited to go to Christ, the well of life, and drink his fill: 'Drink, and spare not; drink love, and be drunken with Christ!'[77]

A more common image is sharing a bed and/or sleep with Christ. It should be noted, however that this is not necessarily sexual, for early modern sources also saw male 'bedfellows' as confidantes, as friends with no sexual undertones.[78] This much granted, the visions are open to different readings. 'I sleep in His arms all the night, and my head betwixt His breasts. My Well-Beloved is altogether lovely'[79] is an image suffused with passivity and security. 'One night's rest in a bed of love with Christ will say more than heart can think, or tongue can utter.'[80] Similarly, there is rest here but when this is read as a conclusion to the section quoted above, it is the climax to a mixture of pleasure and human inadequacy.[81] The same applies to the following: 'Oh, what would I give to have a bed made to my wearied soul in His bosom!'[82] A particularly appropriate request is contained in the next vision. Rutherford will be content in prison, 'providing Christ and I had a love-bed, not of mine, but of Christ's own making, that we might lie together among the lilies, till the day break and the shadows flee away.'[83] Obviously the bed being made by Christ is a matter of self-abnegation but it seems reasonable to expect that a theologian was unlikely to make as good a bed as a man whose step-father was a carpenter.


We should leave Rutherford in the arms of Christ. It would offend the clergy to have focused predominantly on ministerial piety without paying sufficient attention to their lay charges. This may smack of tokenism but it seems worthwhile to ask if lay and clerical masculinities differed in their treatment of nuptial imagery and, if so, why. It also allows us to return to the public sphere, albeit a different public sphere to that of the ministers. The opportunity is given in a series of accounts of lay spiritual experiences particularly concentrating on eucharistic rituals on a grand scale at Cambuslang during the camp meetings of the revival of 1741-42. Indeed, Rutherford offers us an opening text, for he associated communion with the eventual 'great supper' of the marriage.[84] This is not as great a leap as it may seem for, as Schmidt makes clear, the writings of people with whom we are familiar were employed in this context, writers such as Lewis Bayly, Richard Vines and Thomas Boston.[85]

The Scriptural source of most of the Cambuslang nuptial imagery was Isaiah 54.5: 'For thy Maker is thine Husband....' It was the particular favourite of one minister or he preached once on the text very effectively.[86] Six out of seven laymen who moved into expressions of gender reversal did so after a sermon by this minister.[87] One of the most striking elements that recurs in these accounts is an increased reluctance or an introduction of compensatory actions after embracing the images. One man was in search of a greater humility 'and was in some measure strengthened to resolve upon New obedience, in dependence upon his grace'. In the evening he heard a sermon 'where he described the articles, and terms of a Marriage Covenant Agreement between Christ & Believers in Many particulars; and I found my heart as cheerfully agreeing to every one of them, as ever Bride did to the Articles of a Contract with one to be her Husband'. Later in the evening, however, he reclaimed his masculinity by praying in public with 'courage & strength'.[88] Another layman came to meditate on Isa. 54.5 (possibly by association, having heard a sermon on the wedding at Cana in the morning) and felt that his 'heart was melted down with love to God' but, lest he should have proven to be too prone to weakness, he immediately said that it was 'with difficulty that I got my self restrained from shouting aloud from joy.'[89] A third layman could be said to have diminished the gender reversal by pluralising the contract, finding comfort in 'the sweetness of that Relation of a Husband he stands in to his People.'[90] A younger man moved the nuptial image from centre stage: he 'was made to yeeld up my self in sad spirit & body to be wholly & for ever his, & to make all the Congregation present, as it were, witnesses of my acceptance of him for my Lord & Husband, upon the terms on which He offered himselfe to me,' However, he could only go this far, broadening the image by drawing attention to Christ's other roles as prophet, priest and king.[91] For a young unmarried man of 21, the relationship was more complex. After the sermon, 'I felt love to Christ in my soul, & so much joy the sweet kiss of Christ as a husband to my soul,' but his response was 'that the joy of my heart had almost made me cry out among the people, That I was ready to shake hands on the Bargain', that is, to accept Christ as his son-in-law. Later, however, he saw a friend who had been troubled and 'I just flew with my arms about him, & said, such a Minister (12), had married my soul to Christ.' Then he lay down on the hillside and was 'so filled with the love of Christ and contempt of the World, that I even wished, if it were the Lords will, that I might die on the Spot, & never return to the world again', surely a spectacular acceptance of passivity and dependence.[92] The last layman had no moments of diffidence; hearing the minister say that 'He was sent to take a wife for his Masters son, asking, if there was any there that wanted to take Christ for their Husband, of bidding them Come, & he would marry them to Christ, after which he laid out the Terms and I found my heart made sweetly to agree with those Terms & found the Evidences he gave of those that were married to Christ wrought in my heart.'[93] It could be argued that it is significant that those who made the quickest retreat from their femininity were the older, and married, men, and that those who felt fewer qualms were younger and single and so were more peripheral, had less independence and so took a shorter route to passivity and dependence but this is a matter of difference of degree rather than of kind.

The second issue to which we should turn our attention in dealing with these laymen is the relationship between gender reversal and the Eucharist, the place of gender reversal and the public domain. Why is it that these moments occurred so often at the Lord's Supper? As one communicant put it:

When That first sacrament came, before I came to the Table, I had for some time been in a very dead frame: but all the time I was there, I could scarce get another word, but My Lord and My God; and my heart was made to cleave to him, as my upmaking portion, in time and to eternity: and had much of a humble sense of my own Unworthiness of such a high priviledge.[94]

The first point to be made is the particular intensity of self-examination and the requisite humility demanded of communicants. For one to be a worthy communicant one should feel utterly unworthy of communicating.[95] Thus the search for humility clearly ties in with the earlier material. However, it goes beyond this. The purpose of communion was twofold. The first part is the increased union with Christ, clearly creating a space for the nuptial imagery. The second was to enhance the communion of the saints, to create a closer relationship among the godly under the umbrella of a sense of community. A principal gain of the godly perspective on communion was exactly that, the koinõnia, the spread of unity and the bond of love among the communicants, the universal communion of Christians with Christ, and with one another in Christ. The pursuit of union and unity turns the Eucharist into a social drama, a space of 'liminality', a time when the preceding structure loses its hold and the new is not yet constituted. In this gap of 'anti-structure', potential roles and relationships are unlimited.[96] In this space of anti-structure, status, hierarchy and precedence are placed in abeyance; it is a space of communitas, of social levelling and homogeneity, where authority moves from the high to the low, from the individual to the group.[97] The potentiality of this space licenses, indeed offers as a temptation, gender inversion for male communicants and, it should be noted, minimises the threat, for expression of communitas does not abolish status differentiation - it is reaffirmed outside the liminal phase. For communion to act as an aggregative ritual, distance between one and the Other is to be diminished. As Martin Buber put it:

Community, growing community ... is the being no longer side by side but with one another of a multitude of persons. And this multitude, though it moves also towards one goal, yet experiences everywhere a turning to, a dynamic facing of, the others, a flowing from I to Thou. Community is where community happens.[98]

As Bynum pointed out in her critique of Turner's work on medieval pilgrimage, in Western Christianity this model is gendered and proves more illuminating for the experience of men than women. In these circumstances, for instance, the 'Bride of Christ' is a reversal, a rupture of masculinity; for women, it is an intensification, a continuity and an enhancement of femininity.[99] Thus, to return to the specifics of Cambuslang, the large-scale camp meetings, a public space, offered and helped to induce the most private moments of gender reversal, in the sure and certain hope, as it were, that masculinity was not to be permanently, and at great cost, compromised. The patterns of the strenuous affirmations of masculinity shortly after the moment of reversal fit quite easily into Turner's idea of the re-affirmation of structure after liminality. In fact, to take the paradox of humility as empowerment to its extremes, the nuptial experience could give the male communicant a power otherwise denied him: marriage to Christ would provide an alternative to the route to Jesus through the ministerial office. If one embraced the Lord directly, the clergy became, momentarily at least, redundant.[100]

The last instance of subversion within authority can be found within the matter of public and private. As we noted the moment when one young man, recently married to Christ, could embrace a troubled friend and declare his own source of comfort, Schmidt has a similar, more detailed moment from Red River, Kentucky at the end of the eighteenth century. An eleven-year-old girl lovingly rebuked her father for his irreligion in a similar camp meeting. His response was not embarrassment but this 'seemed to pierce the old man like a dart, and make him weep like a child.'[101]


It is not my inclination, indeed, I feel it would be counterproductive, to perform the usual ritual of a conclusion, to draw things together and present a sense of closure. Instead, I will touch upon a couple of issues and end with questions rather than answers. The main issue that needs addressing is the matter of the gendered soul. In an otherwise stimulating essay, Richard Godbeer assuages the fears of later male members of the godly by pointing out that Christ was to marry the souls of men and women rather than men and women per se. Because souls were seen either as sexually indeterminate or female, adopting nuptial imagery should not be seen as a threat to masculinity.[102] The first problem is that this ignores the fluidity and instability of the 'one-sex' outlook touched upon earlier. The second is that it seems to assume an assumed community of Cartesians avant la lettre. There was a more strongly established school that ranked souls by gender and maintained a sense of bodiliness for the sake of individuality.[103] In any case, this is a matter that is rarely stressed in the exegeses of the Song of Songs with which I am familiar. John Preston, for instance, writes quite explicitly that 'Christ comes and tels a man, I will have thee ... and saith to him; I am willing to marry thee'.[104] Moreover, and perhaps crucially, we are addressing experience, and religious history is the richer for the fact that the relationship between theology and experience is dialogic; rhetorics, discourses and outlooks that are related but separate cross over, interact, and blur boundaries. The details are to be explored rather than reassuringly 'clarified.'

The same plea can be repeated, in a less defensive tone, regarding the second issue. The early modern period has been particularly shy about exploring masculinities. The medieval and modern periods have, for some reason, proved to be more inclined to address these issues.[105] In particular, Connell explores the relationship between hegemonic masculinity and subordinate and especially marginal masculinities, with the later being defined (by the hegemonic masculinity) as inadequate or beyond the category of 'properly masculine,' the most obvious modern example being homosexuality, defined as the 'other,' in this case effeminate. At the same time, of course, the group declared marginal can work through, and transform, this projection to its own advantage.[106] Surely, once we have moved beyond the definition of 'man' as the 'norm', this is a model worth exploring in history?

To return to the particular focus of this study, it would be inaccurate to describe the clergy as wholly subordinate; perhaps marginal in a sense, but clearly a particularly positioned form of masculinity. R. N. Swanson has splendidly explored this issue for medieval clergy, their (sort of) counterparts, He took Herdt's study to the earlier period and, observing that the period's definition of masculinity rested on three activities, from each of which the clergy were excluded, revealed the inadequacy of sexual dimorphism here. Religious men 'became extraneous to contemporary gender constructions.' Accordingly, he studied 'the constructed "third gender" of the clergy which, for want of a better term, is here called "emasculinity".'[107] While I find his account of the medieval clergy persuasive, I am not happy with his conclusion regarding the Reformation, characterised by 'the affirmation of a masculine priesthood, made evident in marriage'; 'they were, unmistakably, men.'[108] My objection would be the traditional 'well, it's a bit more complicated than that.' The Reformation brought a different gender identity for clergy, it is true, but one characterised by new problems, new opportunities, new social and spiritual issues.[109] This is simply to say that early modern masculinities, clerical and lay, need to be studied more.

Tom Webster

[1] Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth: a Treatise on Christian Assurance (Edinburgh, 1982, first published 1654) p. 26.

[2] Stephen Marshall, A Sermon preached before the House of Commons (1641) p. 41.

[3] Cornelius Burges, The First Sermon preached to the House of Commons (1641) p. 25. I am grateful to Mike O'Brien for drawing the last two quotes to my attention. The question of gendered language, hierarchy and status has been studied over this period by Alison Smyth. I am grateful to her for sharing this work with me.

[4] Laura Levine, 'Men in Women's Clothing: Anti-theatricality and Effeminization from 1579 to 1642,' Criticism 28 (1986) pp. 121-43; Katherine Eisaman Maus, 'Playhouse Flesh and Blood: Sexual Ideology and the Restoration Actress,' English Literary History 46 (1979) pp. 604-17; on the godly self, see Tom Webster, Godly Clergy in Early Stuart England: the Caroline Puritan Movement, c.1620-1643 (Cambridge, 1997) pp. 122-25.

[5] William Prynne, Histrio-mastix: the Player's scourge or Actor's tragedy (1633) p. 197.

[6] Susan Dwyer Amussen, ' "The Part of a Christian Man": the Cultural Politics of Manhood in Early Modern England,' in eadem and Mark A. Kishlansky (eds.), Political Culture and Cultural Politics in Early Modern England (Manchester, 1995) pp. 213-33 with some space devoted to the clergy, pp. 222-4; Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA, 1990) pp. 134-42; David Underdown, 'The Taming of the Scold: the Enforcement of Patriarchal Authority in Early Modern England,' in Anthony Fletcher and John Stevenson (eds.), Order and Disorder in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1985) pp. 116-36.

[7] It must be made clear at this point that I am considering the relationship of a series of ideal types, a series of gender ideologies. The reality, while not completely separable from the image, is rather more complex.

[8] Brian Heeney, A Different Kind of Gentleman: Parish Clergy as Professional Men in Early and Mid-Victorian England (Hamden, Conn., 1975)

[9] See, for instance, Jane Kamensky, 'Talk like a Man: Speech, Power and Masculinity in Early New England,' in Laura McCall and Donald Yacovone (eds.), A Shared Experience: Men, Women and the History of Gender (New York, NY, 1998) esp. pp. 23-4, 34.

[10] Ian Green, ' "Reformed Pastors" and "Bons Curés": the Changing Role of the Parish Clergy in Early Modern Europe', in Studies in Church History 26 (1989) p. 240; Smectymnuus, An Answer to a Booke Entitled, An Humble Remonstrance (1641) p. 53. ('Smectymnuus' was a pseudonym made form the initials of the five godly ministers who wrote the piece.)

[11] A Parte of a Register (1593) p. 203.

[12] Richard Baxter, Gildas Silvianus: the Reformed Pastor in The Practical Works of Richard Baxter (London, 1830) p. 98 and ch. 2 sect. I passim.

[13] Thomas Hooker, The Danger of Desertion, in G. H. Williams, N. Pettit, W. Herget and S. Bush (eds.), Thomas Hooker: Writings in England and Holland 1625-1633, Harvard Theological Studies 28 (Cambridge, Mass., 1975) p. 244; Smectymnuus, An Answer, p. 53; Thomas Hooker, The Preparing of the Heart for to Receive Christ (1640) reprinted in L. Ziff (ed.), The Literature of America: Colonial Period (New York, NY, 1970) p. 158.

[14] Robert Pricke, The Doctrine of Superiority, and of Subjection, Contained in the Fifth Commandment (1609) sect. F2.

[15] John Collinges, Elisha's Lamentation for Elijah (1657) pp. 6, 8, quotes from pp. 18, 7. A belweather, bellwether is a large castrated sheep.

[16] R. B. Manning, Hunters and Poachers: a Cultural and Social History of Unlawful Hunting in England, 1485-1640 (Oxford, 1993) pp. 177-8; A. J. Fletcher, 'Honour, reputation and Local Office-holding in Elizabethan and Stuart England,' in idem and Stevenson (eds.), Order and Disorder, pp. 92-115; M. James, Society, Politics and Culture: Studies in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1986) pp. 308-415. This related to one's place in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Archbishop Abbot, of course, enjoyed hunting with, in his case, unfortunate consequences.

[17] Collinges, Elisha's Lamentation, p. 9.

[18] John Cotton, The Way of Congregational Churches Cleared (1648) pt. II p. 27.

[19] A Part of a Register, p. 203. This may be linked to the gender flexibility of God; God was portrayed as a breast-feeding maternal figure: Elaine Hobby, Virtue of necessity: English women's writing 1649-1688 (London, 1988) p. 42; Diane Purkiss, 'Producing the voice, consuming the body: women prophets of the seventeenth century,' in Isobel Grundy and Susan Wiseman (eds.), Women, writing, history 1640-1740 (London, 1992) pp. 152-3.

[20] George Gifford, Foure Sermons (1598) sig. f2

[21] Thomas Shepard, Parable of the Ten Virgins, in Works (Boston, Mass., 1853) Vol. II p. 497.

[22] Collinges, Elisha's Lamentation, p. 8. Travel, of course, means travail.

[23] John Cotton, A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition... on John (1656) p. 338.

[24] William Dickinson, Milk for babes. The English Catechisme, Set Downe in the common-Prayer Booke, Briefly explaned (1628); William Crashaw, Milke for Babes. Or, a North-countrie Catechisme. Made Plaine to the Capacitie of the Countrie People (1618); Hugh Peter, Milk for Babes, and Meat for Men (1630); John Syme, The Sweet Milke of Christian Doctrine: in Question and Answer (1617); Robert Abbot, Milk for Babes (1646); Henry Jessey, A Catechisme for Babes (1652); John Cotton, Milk for Babes (1646); idem, Spirituall Milk for Babes (1668). John Carter published a work called Milk for Children, which has not survived: Samuel Clarke, A Collection of the Lives of Ten Eminent Divines and some Other Christians (1662) p. 7.

[25] Ibid., p. 36.

[26] Arthur Hildersham, CVIII Lectures upon the Fourth of John (1632)

[27] Collinges, Elisha's Lamentation, p. 33.

[28] Joseph Bentham, The Christian Conflict (1635) p. 85.

[29] C. W. Bynum, 'Women's Stories, Women's Symbols: a Critique of Victor Turner's Theory of Liminality,' in eadem, Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (New York, NY, 1991) pp. 27-51.

[30] Peter Bulkeley, The Gospel-Covenant: Or the Covenant of Grace Opened (1651) p. 103; Thomas Shepard, The Sincere Convert in Works, Vol. I, p. 50; cf. William Bridge, The Sermons (1656) p. 93.

[31] Daniel Rogers, Matrimoniall Honour (1640) p. 309. More generally, see the examples in Amanda Porterfield, Female Piety in Puritan New England: the Emergence of Religious Humanism (Oxford, 1992) pp. 40-79.

[32] M. McGiffert (ed.), God's Plot: the Paradoxes of Puritan Piety Being the Autobiography and Journal of Thomas Shepard (Amherst, Mass., 1972) p. 98.

[33] For instances and some analysis, see Bynum, 'Women's stories, Women's Symbols,' p. 48; Porterfield, Female Piety, p. 15; M. G. Mason, 'The Other Voice: Autobiographies of Women Writers,' in J. Olney (ed.), Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical (Princeton, NJ, 1980) p. 213; M. B. Rose, 'Gender, Genre and History: Seventeenth-Century English Women and the Art of Autobiography,' in eadem (ed.), Women in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Literary and Historical Perspectives (Syracuse, N.Y., 1986) pp. 261-2; W. Martin, 'Anne Bradstreet's Poetry: a Study of Subversive Poetry,' in S. M. Gilbert and S. Gubar (eds.), Shakespeare's Sister: Feminist Essays of Women Poets (Bloomington, Ind., 1979) pp. 21-2. In particular, see Purkiss, 'Producing the voice,' pp. 143-5.

[34] Queen's University Belfast Percy Ms 7 f. 310.

[35] Percy Ms 7 ff. 319, 313.

[36] Percy Ms 7 ff. 62, 218.

[37] Percy Ms 7 f. 174.

[38] Percy Ms 7 f. 334

[39] Amussen, ' "The Part of a Christian Man," ' passim.

[40] Northamptonshire Record Office, Northampton Wills 1631-6 S.2.90.

[41] Jerald Brauer, 'Types of Puritan Piety,' Church History 56 (1987) pp. 53-6; cf. Francis Rous, The Mysticall Marriage, or Experimentall Discoveries of the Heavenly Marriage betweene a Soul and her Saviour (1635) pp. 318-47.

[42] Jasper Heartwell, Trodden Down Strength (1647) pp. 151-3, quoted at p. 152; cf. Diane Willen, 'Godly women in early modern England: puritanism and gender,' Journal of Ecclesiastical History 43 (1992) p. 568n.35.

[43] New College, Oxford Ms 9502, n.f., dated 25 January 1640.

[44] John Coffey, Politics, Religion and the British Revolutions: the mind of Samuel Rutherford (Cambridge, 1997) p. 104; cf. pp. 85-6, 88-9, 93-4, 104-9 for examinations of the place of the Song of Songs in Rutherford's preaching as well as his correspondence. I am grateful to John for discussing Rutherford's spirituality with me.

[45] Letters of Samuel Rutherford, ed. by Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh, 1863) Vol. I, p. 93.

[46] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 52.

[47] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 179.

[48] Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 117-8. It may come as little surprise that this advice has caused certain critics more than a little discomfort, as Coffey notes: Coffey, Politics, p. 105n. Cf. Samuel Clarke, A collection of the lives of ten eminent divines (1662) oo, 322-3 where Robert Harris writes to his wife about the time after his death when he wants to 'thank you for your faithfulness, and resign you to the Husband of Husbands, the Lord Jesus'.

[49] Letters, Vol. I, p. 190.

[50] Ibid., Vol. II, p. 98.

[51] Stephen Marshall,Works (1661) 2nd pag., p. 8.

[52] Letters, Vol. I, p. 179.

[53] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 181; cf. Vol. I, pp. 52, 93.

[54] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 432.

[55] Ibid., Vol. II. p. 188; I, p. 200.

[56] Ibid., Vol. II, p. 57.

[57] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 209.

[58] Ibid., Vol. II, p. 97.

[59] Ibid., Vol. II, p. 99.

[60] Thomas Taylor, The Principles of Christian Practice, in Works (1653) p. 5.

[61] Marshall, Works, p. 30.

[62] Ibid., pp. 96, 122-3.

[63] Letters, Vol. I, p. 432.

[64] Ibid., Vol. I, 285.

[65] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 456.

[66] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 181.

[67] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 155.

[68] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 191. The furnace probably refers to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who Nebuchadnezzer (Charles I) threw into an over-heated furnace for refusing his idolatry (Laudianism): Daniel 3.

[69] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 446.

[70] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 248.

[71] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 295.

[72] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 388.

[73] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 178. My emphasis.

[74] Ibid., Vol. II, p. 93. The 'velvet kirkmen' are the high-church clergy who accepted, and promoted, the shifts to Anglican practices which caused Rutherford's opposition and exile.

[75] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 52.

[76] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 188.

[77] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 209.

[78] Alan Bray, 'Homosexuality and the Signs of Male Friendship in Elizabethan Rngland,' History Workshop Journal 29 (1990) pp. 3-8; idem and Michael Rey, 'The body of the friend: continuity and change in masculine friendship in the seventeenth century,' in Tim Hitchcock and Michèle Cohen (eds.), English masculinities 1660-1800 (London, 1999).

[79] Letters, Vol. II, p. 188.

[80] Ibid., Vol. II, p. 99.

[81] See above, pp. 13-4.

[82] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 432.

[83] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 446.

[84] Ibid., Vol. I, p. 98, using the limited access of Song of Songs 2.9: 'he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.'

[85] Eric Leigh Schmidt, Holy Fairs: Scottish communions and American revivals in the early modern period (Princeton NJ, 1989) pp. 134, 140.

[86] New College, Edinburgh Ms, 'Examinations of persons under spiritual concern at Cambuslang, during the Revival, in 1741-2; by the Revd William MacCulloch Minister of Cambuslang with marginal notes by Dr Webster [honest] and other Ministers', hereafter 'Examinations.' The examinations seem to have been direct transcriptions and not 'doctored' as is shown by concerns expressed by the ministers in the margins when the examinees expressed 'dubious' views. The only notable intrusion is that ministers are shown simply by numbers, presumably to economise on time during the transcription.

[87] 'Examinations' I, 7, 151, 354, 549, 162-3, 325. The minister is '12' and in the list inside the back cover he is simply named as 'Mr W____d.'

[88] 'Examinations' I, 7. Names are never given, merely the age and marital status of the examinees.

[89] 'Examinations' I, 132.

[90] 'Examinations' I, 354.

[91] 'Examinations' I, 549-50.

[92] 'Examinations' II, 162-3.

[93] 'Examinations' II, 325.

[94] 'Examinations' I, 150-1.

[95] Schmidt, Holy Fairs pp. 92-3, 159-60; Webster, Godly Clergy, pp. 112-7

[96] Victor Turner, 'Images of Anti-temporality: an Essay on the Anthropology of Experience,' Harvard Theological Review 75 (1982) pp. 246-8; idem, Dramas, Fields and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society (Ithaca, NY, 1974) pp. 13-4, 272-99; for a suggestive analysis in the same context, see Schmidt.

[97] Idem, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (London, 1969) pp. 94-165.

[98] Martin Buber, Between Man and Man (trans. R. G. Smith) (London, 1961); italics in original.

[99] Bynum, 'Women's Stories,' esp. pp. 34-43.

[100] Bynum, 'Women Mystics and Eucharistic Devotion in the Thirteenth Century,' in eadem, Fragmentation and Redemption, p. 135.

[101] Schmidt, p. 107; my emphasis; cf. Dickson D. Bruce Jr., And They All Sang Hallelujah: Plain-folk Camp-meeting Religion, 1800-1845 (Knoxville, TN, 1974, pp. 85-7.

[102] Richard Godbeer, ' "Love Raptures": Marital, Romantic and Erotic Images of Jesus Christ in Puritan New England,' in Laura McCall and Donald Yacovone (eds.), A Shared Experience: Men, Women, and the History of Gender (New York, NY, 1998) p. 67.

[103] C. W. Bynum, The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity (New York, NY, 1995) pp. 8-11. See also Hilary Hind, God's Englishwomen: seventeenth-century radical sectarian writing and feminist criticism (Manchester, 1996) p. 44 and passim. and Purkiss, 'Prodiucing the voice'.

[104] John Preston, The breast-plate of faith and love (5th ed. 1634) 1st pag. pp. 197-8.

[105] For instance, R. W. Connell, Masculinities (Cambridge, 1995); D. M. Hadley (ed.), Masculinity in Medieval Europe (London, 1999); C. Lees (ed.), Medieval Masculinities: Regarding Men in the Middle Ages (Minneapolis, 1994); G. Herdt, Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History (New York, NY, 1994); D. D. Gilmore, Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity (London, 1990); M. Roper and J. Tosh (eds.), Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain since 1800 (London, 1991). I am ashamed to say that this holds true more for the UK than for north America.

[106] Connell, pp. 76-81.

[107] R. N. Swanson, 'Angels Incarnate: Clergy and Masculinity from Gregorian Reform to the Reformation,' in Hadley (ed.), Masculinity, pp. 160-77, quoted pp. 167 160.

[108] Ibid., p. 176.

[109] For a particularly thought-provoking account see Paul Ricoeur, 'The nuptial metaphor,' in idem and André LaCocque, Thinking biblically: exegetical and hermeneutical approaches, trans, by David Pellauer (Chicago, IL, 1998) pp. 293-5.