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which included among its adherents a great variety of opinions as to the extent to which existing regulations, superstitious or frivolous, might be observed with a good conscience. All Puritans, who had not advanced beyond mere Puritanism, believed in a national church, and hoped that the same power of Queen and Parliament, which had already reformed the church in part, would ultimately resume and complete the unfinished work of reformation. Meanwhile, their lot being cast in England, by the providence of God, they were members of the church of England, and were to obey the constituted authorities and the existing laws, as far as was consistent with their allegiance to the higher law of God. Robinson, belonging to this party, and being probably from the first, one of the most scrupulous class, soon came into collision with the ecclesiastical authorities. We afterwards find him at Norwich, where he seems to have held some unauthorized meeting or conventicle for prayer and religious conference. Henry Ainsworth, one of the Amsterdam exiles, in a work published in 1607, says to a clergyman of the church of England, "If any among you, not meddling with the public estate of your church, but feeling or fearing his own particular soul-sickness, do resort to a physician whose receipts are not after the common sort, for advice about his health, or of friendship or acquaintance to see him, he is subject to the censure and thunder-bolt of your church." To understand what follows, it should be remembered that "censures," in the church of England, are accompanied with civil "thunder-bolts," such as fines and imprisonments; "excommunication" carrying with it not merely exclusion for church ordinances, but the loss of civil rights. Witness," says Ainsworth, in illustration of his general statement, "the late practice in Norwich, where certain citizens were excommunicated for resorting unto and praying with Mr. Robinson, a man worthily reverenced of all the city for the grace of God in him, as yourself also, I suppose, will acknowledge, and to whom the care and charge of their souls was ere while committed."

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There was already, in secret places and in exile, a separation from the established church of England. Those whose zeal for reformation was most earnest and ardent, had begun to protest that the ecclesiastical system by law established, was altogether contrary to the arrangements instituted by Christ for the perfecting of his saints and the edifying of his body; and accordingly they had begun to set up their own worship, independent of the state, conforming to the rules and examples which they found in the Scriptures. A little church of separatists in London, particularly, had learned by a terrible experience, that though the


conscientious neglect of ceremonies was more offensive to the rulers of the establishment than profaneness or lewdness, any measure of non-conformity within the Church was punished with less severity than the attempt to separate from the Church. Separation from the Church, and the setting up of a worship not authorized by law, was sedition. Words uttered and printed in argument against the Church and for the duty of separation from it, were "seditious words" against the Queen its head. Under such changes, Barrow and Greenwood, and Penry, had been put to death, the martyrs of separation. 1593, an act was framed by which separatists were banished from the realm. Sometimes as voluntary fugitives, sometimes judicially banished, the separatists found refuge in the Netherlands, where all forms of religion were tolerated. Thus a little congregation of English exiles was gathered at Amsterdam, with Francis Johnson for its Pastor, and the learned Henry Ainsworth for its teacher. At the same time, the number of separatists in England was kept up, and was increased from year to year, as the increasing rigor with which strict conformity was urged in the national church, not only made it more and more difficult for scrupulous men to remain in that connection, but also extinguished more and more the hope of a farther reformation by public authority. Meanwhile a painful and exasperated feeling had arisen between the Separatists and the Puritans or "Reformists"-as those who hoped to see the national church reformed into Presbyterianism, were commonly denominated. The two parties, notwithstanding their many points of agreement, were acting on opposite principles in regard to the great question of the day. Each weakened the hands of the other. The position of each was a protest against the other. The controversy between these two parties became embittered by their mutual upbraiding. The Reformist could not endure what would now be called the "ultraism" and "come-outerism" of the Separatist. And on the other hand, the zeal of the Separatist for the pure ordinances of Christ burned like fire against what seemed to him the inconsistency, the half-heartedness, and the time-serving and cowardly compliances of the Reformist.

While Robinson was at Norwich, he was as yet only a Puritan. Many of the Puritan clergy were enabled to exercise their ministry without. violence to their scruples, by obtaining some employment in which they could preach without being compelled to a strict and entire conformity. A lectureship in a church, without the "cure of souls," the mastership of a public school or a hospital, or a chaplainship in the house of some nobleman or gentleman, was often sought for by clergymen

whose scruples about the want of discipline and the ceremonies, or about the unscriptural constitution of the hierarchy, would hinder them from accepting a rectory or a vicarage. Some such employment, Robinson might have gladly accepted at that period. Some such employment, occupying his powers and cheering him with the prospect of usefulness, might have hindered his mind from arriving at that position in which he saw and felt the duty of separating from the corrupt and secular establishment which sacrilegiously called itself the church of Christ. Long afterwards, his university acquaintance, Hall, bishop of Norwich, writing against him, was so ungenerous as to insinuate that mercenary considerations might have been potent enough to retain him in the ministry of the establishment. "The mastership of the hospital at Norwich," says Hall, "might have procured that this separation from the communion, government and worship of the church of England should not have been by John Robinson." Very likely, good my lord of Norwich! But why was it that John Robinson desired the mastership of that hospital? Why was it that he could not get it? If mercenary considerations could have prevailed with John Robinson against his convictions, what hindered him from retaining his original preferment? If mercenary considerations were what governed the man, what hindered him from taking the side which had mercenary considerations in its favor? By taking that side you became a bishop and a peer of the realm, while he, by taking the other side, suffered the loss of all things and became an outlaw and an exile.

Robinson himself thus describes in part the inward conflict through which he passed before he arrived at the conclusion which separated him from the church of England:

"I do indeed confess, to the glory of God and my own shame, that a long time before I entered this way, [separation,] I took some taste of the truth in it by some treatises published in justification of it, which, the Lord knoweth, were sweet as honey to my mouth. And the very principal thing which, for the time, quenched all further appetite in me, was the over-valuation which I made of the learning and holiness of these and the like persons [the Evangelical Puritans,] blushing in myself to have a thought of pressing one hair-breadth before them in this thing, behind whom I knew myself to come so many miles in all other things. Yea, and even of late times, when I had entered into a more serious consideration of these things, and, according to the measure of the grace received, searched the Scriptures whether they were so or not, and by searching found much light of truth, yet was the same so dimmed and overclouded with the contradictions of these men and others of the like note, that, had not the truth been in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, I had never broken those bonds of flesh and blood wherein I was so strictly tied, but had suffered the light of God to have been put out in mine own unthankful heart by other men's darkness." (Vol. I, p. xviii.)

We have already stated that his resignation of his fellowship was in the year 1604. This may be assumed as the date of his

About two years

separation from the church of England. before this date, a handful of enlightened and devoted men, whose homes were near the borders of the three counties of Lincolnshire, Nothinghamshire and Yorkshire, "shook off the yoke of anti-Christian bondage, and AS THE LORD'S FREE PEOPLE, joined themselves by a covenant of the Lord, into a church estate, in the fellowship of the Gospel, to walk in all his ways, made known or to be made known to them, according to their best endeavors, WHATEVER IT MIGHT COST THEM." With this little company Robinson may have had some connection by previous acquaintance, for Lincolnshire was his county. Certainly he was one of them at a very early period in their history. After a while, probably in 1606, it became convenient for the little community to divide itself into two churches, and to worship in two localities. One of those churches, after maintaining its existence for a few years, appears to have been gradually broken up, and makes no figure in history. The other, at the first, was under the guidance of Richard Clifton, "a grave and reverend preacher," and John Robinson. At the same time William Brewster, a layman who had been in various employments, and, who had probably more of this world's goods, and more of that kind of knowledge and influence which was necessary for their safety than any other among them, was "a special stay and help to them." Their ordinary place of meeting on the Lord's day was at his house, “which was a manor of the bishop's, and with great love he entertained them when they came, making provision for them to his great charge." Recent investigations by Joseph Hunter, Esq., in England, have identified the village of Scrooby, in Nottinghamshire, about a mile and a half south of Bawtry, in Yorkshire, and not far from the borders of Lincolnshire, as the ordinary place of meeting for those worshipers. At Scrooby was an old manor-house belonging to the archbishops of York, and in former ages frequently their temporary residence. There, in particular, Wolsey, the proud cardinal, had rested when he had been disgraced at court and sent to his own diocese. In that same mansion, bluff King Harry himself had passed a night in some northern progress. Of that old manor-house William Brewster was then the tenant under the Sandys family, to whom it had been, in effect, alienated by the archbishop of that name some twenty years before. But these men who held their Lord's day meetings at Scrooby were violating the law of the land, and what was more, they were setting at nought that great political compromise of the age, the Church of England, as constituted and established by act of Parliament; and consequently they suffered such things as

native Protestants now suffer in Florence-such things as free citizens of the United States are now legally liable to suffer, if, in obedience to their religious convictions, they give the protection and hospitality of their homes to fugitives from the slavetrade. In the words of Governor Bradford, "Some were taken and clapped up in prisons, others had their houses beset and watched night and day, and hardly escaped; and the most were fain to fly and leave their houses and habitations and the means of their livelihood." Their only hope, under God, was in a migration to some shore beyond the reach of their oppressors. Only a few leagues distant from the eastern coast of England, just opposite to the low and fenny lands of Lincolnshire, there was a country where, if they were willing to lose all things else, they might enjoy their religious convictions. In "the United States of the Netherlands," as well as in the city of Geneva, there was "a church without a bishop and a state without a king;" and there they might find "freedom to worship God." "So, after they had continued together about a year, and kept their meeting every sabbath in one place or another, exercising the worship of God among themselves, notwithstanding all the diligence and malice of their adversaries, seeing they could no longer continue in that condition, they resolved to get over into Holland as they could." We need not repeat the story of the sacrifices, the perils, the opposition from their enemies, the persecutions from the minions of power unwilling to permit their escape at so easy a rate as banishment, through which, in the years 1607 and 1608, they succeeded in executing their purpose of emigration. Amsterdam was their place of rendezvous. Robinson and Brewster, as became their rank in the community, were among the last to make their escape; for they "stayed to help the weakest over before them."

At Amsterdam the "ancient church" of English Separatists, under Johnson and Ainsworth, was still in existence. The new comers exhibited their prudence, their gentleness, and their simplicity of purpose, by avoiding the possibility of a collision with brethren whose spirit, and whose principles, were not in all respects exactly like theirs. Smith, who had been their pastor at first, before their division into two churches, and who, with a portion of his company, had escaped into that exile before them, had already fallen into some contention with "the ancient church;" but Robinson and Brewster were wiser, if not more peaceably disposed. At a great sacrifice in respect to their opportunities of earning a subsistence, they and their company removed to Leyden, "a fair and beautiful city, and of a sweet situation, but made more famous by the university where

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