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sham was suspended a third time for nonconformity; and inany others suffered the like extremity. Numerous congregations being deprived of their zealous and faithful pastors, the distressed people presented a petition to the king, in behalf of their suffering ministers; which, because it was presented while his majesty was hunting, he was exceedingly displeased. The poor puritan ministers were now persecuted in every quarter, some of them being suspended, and others deprived of their livings." And while the bishops were highly commended for suspending or depriving all who could not conform, Sir Richard Knightly, Sir Walentine Knightly, Sir Edward Montague, and some others, presented a petition to the king in behalf of the suffering ministers in Northamptonshire; for which they were summoned before the council, and told, that what they had done “tended to sedition, and was little less than treason.” # The king now issued two proclamations, intimating in the one, what regard he would have to the tender consciences of the papists; but in the other, that he would not allow the least indulgence to the tender consciences of the puritans.: In his majesty's long speech, at the opening of the first session of parliament, he said, “I acknowledge the Roman “church to be our mother church, although defiled with “some infirmities and corruptions;” and added, “I would “for my own part be content to meet them in the mid“way;” but spoke with great indignation against the puritans. And many of the ministers still refusing to conform, the king issued another proclamation, dated July 10, 1604, allowing them to consider of their conformity till the end of November following: but in case of their refusal, he would have them all deprived, or banished out of the kingdom. - Most of the bishops and clergy in the convocation which sat with the above parliament, were very zealous against the puritans. Bishop Rudd was, indeed, a noble exception. He spoke much in their praise, and exposed the injustice and inhumanity of their persecutors. The book of canons passed both houses, and was afterwards ratified by the king's letters patent, under his great seal. By these canons, new hardships were laid upon the oppressed puritans. Suspensions and deprivations were now thought not to be a sufficient punishment for the sin of nonconformity. The puritans received the terrible sentence of excommunication, being turned out of the congregation, rendered incapable of sueing for their lawful debts, imprisoned for life, denied christian burial, and, as far as possible, excluded from the kingdom of heaven. Archbishop Bancroft, now at the head of . ecclesiastical affairs, enforced the observance of all the festivals of the church, the use of copes, surplices, caps, hoods, &c. and obliged the clergy to subscribe afresh to Whitgift's three articles, which, by canon xxxvi. they were to declare they did o and from their hearts. By these oppressive measures, four hundred ministers were suspended and cast out of their livings;* some of whom were excommunicated and cast into prison, while others, to preserve their consciences, were driven into a state of banishment. Among the painful sufferers at this time, were Mr. Maunsel, minister of Yarmouth, and Mr. Lad, a merchant of the same place. For holding a supposed conventicle, they were cited before the high commission at Lambeth, and, refusing the oath ex officio, were cast into prison. When they were brought to the bar, Nicholas Fuller, esq. a bencher of Gray’s-inn, and a learned man in his profession, was their counsel; who, for pleading their cause, was cast into prison, where he continued to the day of his death. Mr. Wotton and Mr. Cleaver, two learned and useful divines, were suspended for nonconformity. Mr. Rush, fellow of Christ's college, Cambridge, was convened and required to make a public recantation. Mr. Randall Bates, a pious and excellent preacher, was committed to the Gatehouse, where, after a long and miserable confinement, he died under the hardships of the prison. These severities drove many learned ministers and their followers out of the kingdom, when they retired to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leyden and other places. Among these were Dr.William Ames and Mr. Robert Parker, both divines of distinguished emlnence. Indeed, Archbishop Bancroft incessantly harassed and plagued the puritans, to bring them to an exact conformity. On account of his rigorous proceedings, great numbers resolved to transport themselves to Virginia, and settle in that uncivilized country, where they could enjoy the blessing of religious liberty. Some having departed for the new settlement, and the archbishop seeing many more ready for the voyage, obtained his majesty's proclamation, forbidding them to depart without the king's license. The arbitrary court was apprehensive this sect would in the end become too numerous and powerful in America." The distressed puritans must not enjoy liberty of conscience at home, nor remove to another country, even amon uncivilized pagans, where they could enjoy it.—The ; commission, says Bishop Kennet, began now to swell into a grievance, of which the parliament complained. Every man must conform to the episcopal church, and quit his opinion or his safety. That court was the touch-stone, to try whether men were current. “This,” he adds, “was the beginning of that mischief, which made such a bloody tincture in both kingdoms, as never will be got out of the bishops' lawn sleeves.” The parliament, in 1610, was deeply concerned about these proceedings. In their petition to the king, they say, “That divers painful and learned pastors, who have long travelled in the work of the ministry, with good fruit and blessing of their labours, who were ready to subscribe to the true christian faith and doctrine of sacraments, for not conforming in some points of ceremony, and refusing the subscription directed by the late canons, have been removed from their ecclesiastical livings, being their freehold, and debarred from all means of maintenance, to the great grief of sundry of your majesty's well-affected subjects.”f And in a memorable speech during this parliament, it was said, “ The depriving, degrading, and imprisoning learned and godly ministers, whom God hath furnished with most heavenly graces, is the crying sin of the land, most provoking to God, and most grievous to the subjects.” A bill was, therefore, introduced against pluralities and nonresidence; another against canonical subscription; a third against scandalous ministers; a fourth against the oath ea officio; and they all passed the commons. An address was also presented to the king, entitled “An humble supplication for toleration and liberty to enjoy and observe the ordinances of Jesus Christ in the ministration of his churches, in lieu of human constitutions.” It was published by those who apprehended the church of England to be fast approaching towards the church of Rome." But all these endeavours proved ineffectual to obtain a further reformation of the church. Archbishop Bancroft died November 10, 1610, and was succeeded by Dr. George Abbot, an avowed enemy to all the superstitions of popery.f King James, to shew his zeal against heresy, had now an opportunity of exercising it upon two of his own subjects; who, in the year 1611, were burnt alive for their heretical opinions. One was Bartholomew Legatt, a native of the county of Essex. He was a man of a bold spirit, a fluent tongue, well skilled in the scriptures, and of an unblameable conversation. He denied the divinity of Christ, and a plurality of persons in the Godhead. The king himself, and several of the bishops, conferred with him, and endeavoured to convince him of his errors.; Having continued a long time prisoner in Newgate, he was at length brought before the king, many of the bishops, and many learned divines, in the consistory of St. Paul's; where he was declared a contumacious and obdurate heretic, and delivered over to the secular power. The king having signed a writ de heretico comburendo to the sheriffs of London, he was carried to Smithfield, March 18, and, before an immense number of spectators, was burnt to ashes. Pardon was offered him at the stake if he would have recanted, but he firmly refused.| Mr. Edward Whiteman of Burton-upon-Trent, was, at the same time, convicted of heresy by Dr. Neile, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and burnt at Lichfield, April 11. In the king's warrant for his execution, he is charged with no less than sixteen distinct heresies, among which are those of the Ebionites, Corinthians, Arians, and Anabaptists, and other heretical, execrable, and unheard-of opinions. Some of the opinions imputed to him savoured of vanity, superstition, and enthusiasm; and he was certainly an object more deserving of compassion than of punishment.” #. to gratify the wishes of his enemies, he must pass through the fire.—There was another condemned to be burnt for similar heresies; but the constancy of the above sufferers having greatly moved the pity of the spectators, he was left to linger out a miserable life in Newgate.* Many of the puritans being driven into exile, continued a number of years in a foreign land. They raised congregations and formed christian churches, according to their views of the New Testament. Mr. John Robinson, pastor of the church at Leyden, first struck out the congregational or independent form of church government. Afterwards, about a hundred of his church transplanted themselves to America, and laid the foundation of the colony of New England. But some of the worthy exiles ventured at length to return home. Mr. Henry Jacob having espoused the sentiments of the independents, returned about the year 1616; and communicating to his friends his design of forming a separate church, like those in Holland, they, seeing no prospect of any reformation of the national church, signified their approbation. They spent a day in solemn devotion, to implore the divine blessing upon the undertaking; and having made an open confession of their faith in Christ, they joined hands, and convenanted with each other to walk together in all the ordinances of God, as far as he had already made known to them, or should hereafter make known to them. Mr. Jacob was chosen pastor by the suffrage of the brotherhood, and others to the office of deacons. This was the first INDEPENDENT church in England. - uring this year, his majesty, by the advice of the bishops, issued his royal directions for a better conformity to the established church. He required “That all students who took their degrees, should subscribe to the thirty-sixth canon.—That all scholars should wear their scholastical
* Winwood's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 36, 48. + Ibid. p. 49. f Rapin's Hist, of Eng. vol. ii. p. 163. § Ibid. p. 165, 166. # MS. Remarks, p. 583. # Sparrow's Collec. p. 263. * Sion's Plea, p. 75.—MS, Remarks, p. 585.-Some of our high-church historians, it is acknowledged, have diminished the number to forty-five, others to forty-nine, evidently with a design to remove the odium from the persecuting prelates.—Heylin’s Hist, of Pres. p. 376.-Spotiswood's Hist. of Scotland, p. 479. Edit. 1677.
* * * Rapin’s Hist. of Eng. vol. ii. p. 176.
+ Kennet's Hist. of Eng, vol. ii. p. 681, 682. f Calamy's Church and Dissenters, p. 131. § Ibid., p. 137. | M.S. Remarks, p. 629.
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* MS. Chronology, vol. ii. p. 619. (2.) + The puritans were now oppressed by every means that could be devised. Mrs. Venables, a lady of great liberality and exemplary piety, being deeply concerned for the numerous persecuted servants of Christ, bequeathed in her last will 25000, to be distributed among the suffering nonconformist ministers. This was no sooner known at court, than the money was seized, and given to such ministers as were conformable. Such was the fraud and barbarity of the times 1 —M.S. Remarks, p. 585. f Bishop Kennet styles Archbishop Bancroft “a sturdy piece,” and says, “he proceeded with rigour, severity and wrath, against the puritans.” —Kennet's Hist. of Eng. vol. ii. p. 665. § The attempt of the king to convince Legatt having utterly failed, he arose in a passion from his chair, and, giving him a kick with his royal foot, said: “Away, base fellow, it shall never be said, that one stayeth in my presence, that hath never prayed to our Saviour for seven years.”—Fuller's Church Hist. b. x. p. 62. | He had a brother, called Thomas Legatt, who, at the same time, for holding certain heretical opinions, as they are called, was committed to Newgate, where he died under the pressures of his confinement.—Jessop's Discovery of Anabaptists, p. 77. Edit. 1623.