網頁圖片
PDF

sacrament, not subscribing to articles without foundation in law, or some other equally trivial circumstance, were among the inhuman and iniquitous proceedings of those courts. - These intolerant and cruel transactions, instead of reconciling the Puritans to the church, drove them farther from it. Such arguments were found too weak to convince men's understandings and consciences; nor could they compel them to admire and esteem the church fighting with such weapons. These tragic proceedings created in the nation a great deal of ill blood, which, alas ! continues in part to this day, While the governing prelates lost their esteem among the people, the number and reputation of the Puritans greatly increased, till, at length, they got the power into their own hands, and shook off the painful yoke. - - That the Puritans in general were men of great learning, untarnished piety, and the best friends to the constitution and liberties of their country, no one will deny, who is acquainted with their true character and the history of the times in which they lived. Many of them, it is acknowledged, were too rigid in their behaviour: they had but little acquaintance with the rights of conscience; and, in some instances, they treated their superiors with improper language: but, surely, the deprivation, the imprisonment, or the putting of them to death for these trifles, will never be attempted to be vindicated in modern times.

The author is aware, however, of the delicacy of many things here presented to the public, and of the difficulty of writing freely without giving offence. But, as honest truth needs no apology, so the pernicious influence of bigotry, superstition, and persecution, he thinks, can never be too fairly and openly exposed. He also believes that all professing Christians, except those who are blind devotees to superstition, or persecutors of the church of God, will rejoice to unite with him in holding up these evils as a warning to posterity.

The work is not to be considered as a medium, or a test of religious controversy, but an historical narrative of facts. It is not designed to fan the flame of contention among brethren, but to promote, upon genuine protestant principles, that christian moderation, that mutual forbearance, and that generous affection, among all denominations, which is the great ornament and excellency of all who call themselves Protestants. A correct view of the failings and the excellencies of others, should prompt us to avoid that which is evil, and to imitate that which is good.

When we behold the great piety and constancy with which our forefathers endured the most barbarous persecution, will not the sight produce in our minds the most desirable christian feelings? Though we shall feel the spirit of indignity against the inhumanity and cruelty of their persecutors, will not the sight of their sufferings, their holiness, and their magnanimity, awaken in our breasts the spirit of sympathy and admiration? Shall we not be prompted to contrast our own circumstances with theirs, and be excited to the warmest thankfulness that we live not in the puritanic age, but in days of greater christian freedom? Shall we not be constrained to exclaim, “The lines are fallen to us in pleasant places; yea, Lord, thou hast given us a goodly heritage?” The author has not attempted to justify any irregularities in the opinions, the spirit, or the conduct of the Puritans. Although he acknowledges that he has, in numerous instances, endeavoured to prove their innocence, against the evil reproaches and groundless accusations of their adversaries, so far as substantial evidence could be collected from historical facts; yet he has never attempted to vindicate their infirmities, or to connive at their sins. They were men of like passions with ourselves; and, from the cruel treatment they met with, we cannot wonder that they sometimes betrayed an improper temper. Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad. Oh, that we may learn to imitate their most amiable endowments Though he does not expect to escape the censures of angry partisans, he will thankfully receive any corrections or improvements from those who are disposed to communicate them, promising to make the best use of them in his power. If his endeavours should, through the blessing of God, prove successful in exciting Protestants, of various denominations, to a zealous imitation of the excellent qualities of their worthy ancestors, he will in no wise lose his reward.

The author wishes here to present a tribute of gratitude to his numerous friends, who have favoured him with the use of books and other materials for the work; and, under a deep sense of his multiplied obligations, he now requests them to accept his most grateful acknowledgments.” He desires particularly to express his special obligations to the Trustees of Dr. Williams's Library, Red-Cross-Street, London, for the use of several volumes of most curious and valuable manuscripts.

* Valuable communications of books or manuscripts have been received from the following ministers:–The late Dr. Edward Williams, Rotherham—Dr. Joshua Toulmin, Birmingham—Dr. Abraham Rees, London—Dr. John Pye Smith, Homerton—Mr. Timothy Thomas, Islington—Mr. Joseph Ivimey, London—Mr. John Sutcliff, Olney—Mr. William Harris, Cambridge—Mr. James Gawthorn, Derby—Mr. Joshua Shaw, Ilkeston—Mr. Thomas Roome, Sutton in Ashfield—Mr. William Salt, Lichfield—Mr. John Hammond, Handsworth—Mr. Samuel Bradley, Manchester— Mr. John Cockin, Holmfirth—Mr. John Tallis, Cheadle. Also from the following gentlemen:-Francis Fox, M. D. Derby—John Audley, Esq. Cambridge—Mr. Walter Wilson, London—Mr. J. Simco, ditto —Mr. Joseph Meen, Biggleswade—Mr. T. M. Dash, Kettering— Mr. James Ashton, Leek—Mr. Isaac James, Iristol—Mr. William Daniel, Lichfield,

[merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

John Bale ............... 101 : Francis Merbury .........

John Pullain ............ 114 i William Whittingham ....

John Hardyman ......... 116 & Mr. Lawrance ...........

Miles Coverdale ..... ... 117 John Handson . . . . . . . . . . .

William Turner .......... 128 Robert Wright ... . . . . . . . .

Robert Hawkins . . . . . . ... 133 Bernard Gilpin ..........

Andrew Kingsmill ....... , 149 John Copping . . . . . . . . . . . .

Christopher Colman ...... 150 Thomas Underdown ... . .

William Axton .... ..... 151 Mr. Sanderson . . . . . . . . . . .

Thomas Becon ... . . . . . . . .166 John Hill ... . . . . . . . . . . . .

Gilbert Alcock . . . . . . . . . . 170. Nicholas Brown .........

David Whitehead ........ 172 { Richard Crick ..........

Mr. Millain ............. 174 : Anthony Gilby ..........

William Bonham ......... ib. John Edwin .............

Robert Johnson ... . . . . ... 17 Edward Brayne . . . . . . . . .

Richard Taverner ........ 189 Barnaby Benison ... ....

R. Harvey .............. 191 William Negus...........

Edward Deering.......... 193 John Stroud . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thomas Aldrich ......... 211 John Browning ..........

Thomas Lever ..... ..... 213 Stephen Turner ..........

223

229

237

238

239

242

262

264

273

274

275

278

ib.

285

289

292

ib.

302

305

« 上一頁繼續 »