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Dr. Browning himself, after his release from prison, ap
o before the chancellor, subscribed a submission with
is own hand, and was so far acquitted that he was sent back to the university, and the vice-chancellor and heads were urged to re-admit him to his former office and prefer
ment. But this will best appear in Burleigh's own words,
addressed to the vice-chancellor and heads, which were as follows:– “Having received from you a declaration of two
errors committed by this bearer, John Browning, in his
sermons, one of them containing matter of heresy, and the other tending to sedition, I have caused him to be further
examined hereupon, in the presence of Sir Thomas Smith,
her majesty's principal secretary; and finding as well by the relation of Mr. Secretary, as by his own confession subscribed with his hand, that he utterly abhorreth them both, and affirmeth that he hath been much mistaken in the same, I thought it best, for preserving the university's reputation, and for the reverence of the church of God, wherein he is a minister, to suppress the memory and notice of the said errors, especially that which may be drawn to an interpretation that he should be justly thought seditious and offensive. Therefore, my advice is, that you should receive him again into his place; and if he shall willingly acknowledge before you the same doctrine, and misliking of the foresaid errors, whereof I mean to send you his confession under his hand, and then he may continue quietly among you.” - Though he returned to his office in the college, and to his public ministerial exercise, his troubles were not over. Having taken his doctor's degree at Oxford, two years earlier than he ought to have done, brought upon him many fresh trials. For this singular offence, which some deemed a mere trifle, and others accounted a very grievous crime, he was deprived of his fellowship, and in effect expelled from the university. This oppressive sentence was inflicted upon him in a most clandestine and illegal manner by Dr. Still, and even above four years after taking his degree at Oxford. This was done a long time after Dr. Still had signified his approbation of his taking the degree, by allowing him to deliver public lectures in the chapel, according to the statute of the university, and by allowing him to be incorporated in the same degree at Cambridge. He also confirmed to Dr. Browning his fellowship and place in the college, not only by suffering him quietly and peaceably to enjoy it, with all the privileges thereof, for more than three years, but also elected him by his own voice to be senior bursar of the college, and to be vice-master for two years by two separate elections." Moreover, Dr. Still's conduct was in many particulars most shameful. He proceeded *. Dr. Browning with great injustice and inhumanity. Not content with illegally depriving him of his office and benefice, he would not suffer him to dine in the hall of the college, nor any one to eat or drink with him. When Dr. Browning kept his chamber in the college, this inveterate enemy would not permit any of his friends or acquaintance to come to him, or converse with him; and those of his friends who had any private intercourse with him, he strictly examined by threatenings and oaths to confess what had passed, with a view to accuse them from their own mouths. He also complained in this case to a foreign judge, expressly contrary to the statute of the college. And though he caused the name of Dr. Browning to be struck out of the buttery, he commenced an action of £300 against him, merely on supposition that he had done the same by him. He, moreover, procured a restraint of Dr. Browning's liberty, by watching him and keeping him in his chamber for some time as in a prison. Not satisfied with these tyrannical proceedings, he assaulted Dr. Browning's lodgings in a most violent manner, and broke open his doors, and dragged him out of his chamber, to the great injury of his body; notwithstanding the Earl of Bedford by his letters had previously required all proceedings against him to be stayed, till the cause should be heard. To finish the business, this cruel oppressor of the Lord's servants prohibited Dr. Browning's pupils, servants and friends, from coming near him, or bringing him anything to eat or drink, intending to starve him to death.* During these rigorous and illegal proceedings, the Earl of Bedford, as intimated above,f wrote to the Chancellor Burleigh, desiring his lordship not to give his consent to the sentence pronounced upon Dr. Browning, till after he had heard both parties. He spoke, at the same time, in high commendation of his character; that he had good experience of his sound doctrine, his useful preaching, and exemplary conversation, saying, that his deprivation was hard dealing.” If his deprivation of his fellowship was hard dealing, what must all the other proceedings have been 2 These troubles came upon him in the year 1584: but we do not find that this persecuted servant of Christ
* Baker's MS. Collec. vol. xxix. p. 368.
* Baker’s MS. Collec. vol. iv. p. 45, 46. + Ibid.
f Francis Earl of Bedford was a celebrated statesman, and a constant friend to the persecuted puritans. At his death he left twenty pounds to be given to a number of pious ministers, for preaching twenty sermons at Cheney, Woburn and Melshburn,-MS. Chronology, vol. ii. p. 373. (22.)
obtained any relief. j
STEPHEN TURNER was minister of Arlington in Sussex, but much troubled for nonconformity. About the year 1584, being convened before his ecclesiastical judges, and required to subscribe to Whitgift's three articles, he refused, saying, that he was willing to subscribe as far as the laws of the realm required. With an evident design to ensnare his conscience, or accuse him upon his own confession, he was asked whether the Book of Common Prayer contained any thing contrary to the word of God; when he observed, that he was not bound by law to answer such an inquiry. Also, when he was asked whether he would use the form of prayers and administration of the sacraments, as prescribed, and no other, he replied, that he did not consider himself bound by law to answer. He was then suspended from his ministry.4 Having remained a considerable time under the ecclesiastical censure, he sent the following certificate to certain persons of quality: “ These may certify your honours, that I, Stephen Turner, minister of Arlington in Sussex, have been suspended from my charge this year and a quarter, for refusing to subscribe, no other matter being laid to my charge.”f
John WARD was a celebrated puritan divine, and many years the laborious minister of Haverhil in Suffolk. Afterwards, he appears to have become minister of Writtle, near Chelmsford, in Essex; but, about the year 1584, he was suspended by Bishop Aylmer, for not wearing the surplice. On account of his nonconformity, though he was a most excellent and peaceable man, Aylmer drove him from one place to another, by which means he was exceedingly harassed, and not suffered to continue long in any one situation.}
* Strype's Parker, 391. + MS. Register, p. 569,
He subscribed the “Book of Discipline,” and united with his brethren in their endeavours to promote the desired reformation of the church, meeting with them in their private associations.# This persecuted servant of Christ died at Haverhil, where his remains were interred. |Jpon his grave was a monumental inscription erected to his memory, of which Fuller gives the following translation: t
Grant some of knowledge greater store,
Yet few in life did lighten more,
Mr. Ward was an excellent divine, of whom the famous br. William Whitaker had the highest opinion, and used to say, “Give me John Ward for a text.” Mr. Richard Rogers, the worthy puritan minister of Wethersfield in Essex, married his widow. Mr. Ward had four sons in the ministry. Samuel and Nathaniel were puritan divines of distinguished eminence. Mr. Ward, the ejected nonconformist, was most probably his son.
EDMUND RockRey, B. D.—He was fellow of Queen's college, Cambridge, and a person distinguished for learning and abilities, but was brought into many troubles on account of his nonconformity. He was a man of great reputation, and, in the year 1569, was chosen one of the proctors of the university." The year following, he was convened before the ruling ecclesiastics, and required to enter into a bond of forty pounds, to appear from time to time before the vicechancellor or his deputy, until such matters should be determined and ended as were and should be laid against him. After appearing several times before the vicechancellor, Dr. Whitgift, and the heads of colleges, it was decreed, “ that he should remain, continue, and quietly keep his chamber as a true prisoner, till the matters objected against him should be ended.”
It appears very probable that he continued under confinement a long time: for towards the close of the year 1571, he was again several times brought before the vicechancellor of"heads of colleges; when “Dr. Whitgift willed him to acknowledge and confess his fault, and openly to revoke his rashness in the same place, and, before the same company, where he had given the offence;” and in the conclusion, he was required to make the following public recantation: “For as much as on Sunday, being the 26th of No. “vember, in this place before you, I disorderly stood up, “ (after that Dr. Chadderton, having commandment from “ the vice-chancellor, had given warning that we should “not speak against such statutes as the queen's majesty had “sent to the university,) and spoke words tending to the “ complaining of such things as were then by our master “ spoken, to the discrediting of some about the queen's “majesty; saying, that godly princes might be deceived by “hypocrites and flatterers, as David was by Shebna, or “such like; and to the derogation of the said statutes, and “condemnation of some of them, saying, that they tended “to the impairing of the liberty and privileges of the “university, and that some of them were directly against “God’s word. I therefore acknowledge my rashness and “indiscreetness in so doing, and am heartily sorry for them, “ desiring you to think as it becometh dutiful subjects to “think of the queen's majesty, her counsellors and laws, and “reverently obey the same, as I for my part intend to do, “God willing, to the uttermost of my power. In witness , “ whereof, I have subscribed this confession with my own “hand, and deliver the same here in your presence, to “our master, to be by him also delivered to Mr. Vice* chancellor.” . From the above, we see the crimes with which Mr. Rockrey was charged, together with the proceedings of these ruling ecclesiastics. He seems to have refused making this recantation. He would not defile his conscience, by subscribing that which appeared to him contrary to truth, as well as a tyrannical invasion of christian liberty. Though he was several times summoned before his superiors, it is probable, our author adds, that he still continued in the same mind.t Mr. Rockrey scrupled wearing the habits, for which, during the above troubles, he was deprived of his fellowship,
* Neal's Puritans, vol. i. p. 423. + Baker’s MS. Collec. vol. xv. p. 79. # Fuller's Worthies, part iii. p. 70. § Firmin's Real Christian, Pref. # Palmer's Noncon. Mem. vol. iii. p. 284. * Fuller's Hist, of Cam. p. 141. ** Baker’s MS. Collec. vol. iii. p. 377, 378.