committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs







a history of the english baptists


A.D. 1660 - 1667

CHARLES II. was restored to the throne of his ancestors, May 29, 1660. In his majesty’s declaration from Breda, before his return, it was said, “We do also declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matters of religion, which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom.” How far his conduct accorded with these professions, the events of his reign will abundantly show. The share which the Baptists had in them we shall proceed to narrate.

In Lord Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion there is an address which was presented by the Baptists to the king, while he was at Bruges, in the year 1657-8. This was stated to be “The humble address of the subscribers in behalf of themselves and many thousands more, his majesty’s most humble and faithful subjects.” In it they say,

“they took up arms in the late war for liberty and reformation, but assure his majesty they were so far from entertaining any thoughts of casting off their allegiance, or extirpating the royal family, that they had not the least intent to abridge the king of his just prerogatives, but only the restraining those excesses of government which were nothing but the excrescences of a wanton power, and were rather a burden than an ornament to the royal diadem.”

In this address they declaim against the Protector, calling him that grand imposter, that loathsome hypocrite, that detestable traitor, the prodigy of nature, the opprobrium of mankind, a landskip of iniquity, a sink of sin, a compendium of baseness. Then, begging pardon for their former offences, they promise to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for his majesty’s restoration, provided his majesty would be so gracious as to restore the remains of the long parliament; to ratify the treaty of the Isle of Wight; to establish liberty of conscience; to take away tithes, and provide some other maintenance for the national clergy; and to pass an act of oblivion for all who had been in arms against his father and himself, except those who should adhere to that ungodly tyrant who calls himself Lord Protector. This was signed by twelve persons. The historian adds, that the messenger who brought these propositions, asking the sum of two thousand pounds to carry on the project, his majesty dismissed him with civil expressions, telling him that he had no design to trouble any man for his opinions.
Mr. Neal thinks there is no truth in this statement of Lord Clarendon’s. “If (says he) there had been such an address, it is a little strange that after the restoration it was not remembered to their advantage.” If however, there is any argument in this, it applies equally against those Presbyterian ministers who

waited on his majesty at Breda, and who it is well known were treated with as much neglect afterwards as the Baptists. It is remarkable that the terms which they proposed in order to assist the king were the same as were afterwards moved by the celebrated Judge Hale, and the adopting of which in all probability would have prevented many of the distressing scenes which afterwards took place. Whatever may be thought of their conduct in presenting this address to the king, it certainly proves that they better understood what was necessary to the securing of civil and religious liberty, than the Presbyterians. But it is not at all probable that the whole body of the Baptists were implicated in this affair. It is most likely that the petitioners were some of those who were enemies to Cromwell, and who would have preferred any government to his, and therefore wished to bring back the king, thinking, perhaps justly, that a monarchial government was preferable to a military despotism.
The restoration of the king was a signal for the enemies of the dissenters to manifest their opposition to them. Some of the sufferings which the Baptists endured were published in this year, by the pious Henry Jessey, in a work entitled, The Lord’s Loud Call to England. He calls a part of this,

“A relation of the imprisonings, plunderings, and barbarous inhumanity and cruelty, that hath lately been practised towards several ministers of the gospel and other peaceable people, in Wales, Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, and other places; especially since the late remnant of the long parliament, by their outing of many, prepared a coffin for themselves and others.” —

After mentioning some circumstances that happened in Wales, he says,

“The gross abuses to many good peaceable people in Lincolnshire, here follow, as they were shewed in their narrative or complaint thereof to the king, near the end of July 1660, testified under many of their hands.”

The narrative alluded to was by the help of a member of parliament presented to the king by the celebrated Mr. Thomas Grantham, and Mr. Joseph Wright, July 26, 1660, is as follows; entitled Part of a Narrative and Complaint, &c.

“May it please you, &c.
“BEING commanded thereto by the Lord, we have met often together to acquaint each other what God hath done, doeth daily, and will do for our souls; and what therefore we ought to do towards him, each other, and all men.
“From which assemblings, oh king, we have been discharged by some in magistratical capacity in these parts, although therein we bless God none hath ever found us with multitude or with tumult; but being taught of God to obey him in the things by him commanded, rather than man (though in the place of magistracy) when commanded things contrary, we therefore durst not receive that discharge. Whereupon some of us have been silenced from making mention of the name of the Lord as formerly, by being entangled in bonds pretendedly imposed upon us for this good behaviour; to which in our innocency we readily yielded, being bound to the good behaviour in conscience, we feared not to be bound thereto by law.
“But such is the sad estate of this generation, that they call good evil, and evil good, with sorrow we speak it; taking their advantage against us in serving: the Lord. Upon the account of the condition of these obligations; accounting us, oh king, peace-breakers, when in the sincerity of our hearts and innocency of our souls, we peaceably meet to worship, our God, in his fear we affirm it.
“Since thus entangled, oh king, we have been much abused as we pass in the streets, and as we sit in our houses; being threatened to be hanged, if but heard praying to our Lord in our own families, and disturbed in our so waiting upon him, by uncivil beating at our doors and sounding of horns: yea, we have been stoned when going to our meetings, the windows of the place where we have met have been struck down with stones: yea, taken as evil-doers, and imprisoned, when peaceably met together to worship the Most High in the use of his most precious ordinances.
“We have, oh king, spread these things before them in authority in those parts, but can have no redress from them; but the rage of our adversaries hath been augmented by hearing us abused by some of them in open court who sat on the bench of justice, under the odious terms of knavish, juggling, impudent, and fanatic fellows, &c. And as if all this were too little, they have to fill up their measure very lately indicted many of us at the sessions; and intend, as we are informed, to impose on us the penalty of twenty pounds for not coming to hear such men as they provide us; of whose principles and practices we could give a most sad and doleful, yet, oh king, a most true relation. Signed by

There was delivered to the king at the same time a Confession of faith, which he very graciously accepted, and returned a favourable answer. The substance of it was as follows

“That it was not his mind that any of his good subjects, who lived peaceably, should suffer any trouble on account of their opinions in point of religion, and that he had declared the same in several declarations. He promised us also, (say they,) upon declaring our grievances, that he would have particular care over us, that none should trouble us on account of our consciences, in things pertaining to religion. And while we were present before him he ordered an honourable member of parliament to go to the lord chancellor, and secretary, and get something done to that purpose. The member of parliament promised that he would do as the king had ordered him.”

This confession or declaration of faith, it is probable, was published soon after, as it said to have been “lately presented to King Charles II., and set forth by many of us who are falsely called Anabaptists, to inform all men in these days of scandal and reproach of our innocent belief and practice; for which we are not only resolved to suffer persecution to the loss of our goods, but also life itself, rather than to decline the same.” Subscribed by certain elders, deacons, and brethren, met in London, on behalf of themselves and many others in several counties, of the same faith with us, March 1661.


“Owned and approved by more than twenty thousand.”

The persons who signed this confession appear to have been General Baptists from different parts of the. Kingdom, and it is probable they had suffered in a similar manner to their brethren in Lincolnshire.
In Berkshire also there was great opposition, as may be gathered from the work of Mr. Jessey’s before referred to. He says he had received a letter from

Reading prison, dated July 16, 1660, where divers peaceable persons were put, having oaths put upon them which they were not satisfied to take. Of the Lord’s instructing and comforting them and their relations they state as follows: —

“Our Lord and King whom we serve hath brought us under his own pavilion, and his banner over us hath been and still is love, and hath been teaching us these lessons following. —
(1.) In the loss of all outward things, having Christ, we enjoy all things, and are satisfied in the Lord. We shall take the spoiling of our goods with far more comfort than the enemy will do in the spending them; for that word in Job 20:22, 23, is very much upon our hearts concerning him. —
(2.) We hope that we have learned in whatsoever condition we are therewith to be content; and are persuaded in our hearts that this is given us in answer to many prayers breathed forth to the Lord on our behalf. —
(3.) That whereas formerly we could hardly part with any thing for the Lord, we are now made willing, by him, to part with all things for his sake, and to say with good old Eli, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good. That also in Job is set before us for our example on whom the ends of the world are come: The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; and blessed be the name of the Lord. —
(4.) We have, since our confinement, tasted a greater sweetness in the promises of the Lord than formerly; and particularly these places following we have had sweet experience of. Deuteronomy 33:25. Philippians 4:19. 1 Peter 5:7. And we can say by experience, That faithful is he that hath promised, for he hath also done it. It is the Lord’s doing, and marvellous in our eyes! We are also brought by the power of his grace to a more watchful frame over our hearts thoughts, and actions, by these trials, than formerly.
“One thing that had almost slipt our memory, the knowledge of which will we hope rejoice your hearts; that our relations, who are precious to the Lord and to us, bear this our suffering with incomparable patience, rather singing for joy than weeping for grief. Also our societies from whence we are taken are exceedingly cheerful, and a very lively spirit of faith and prayer is amongst them, and their meetings rather increase than otherwise Sure that the Lord is near, his wondrous works declare; for the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land.
“And now, brethren, for as much as the mercies expected, and prayed for by us, are to be enjoyed in the way of righteousness, it greatly concerns us, and we cry mightily to the Lord, as did his servant of old. Isaiah 62:1. Then shall we have that new name, expressed in the last verse of that chapter. Now the God of all peace fill you with peace and joy in believing! So pray your brethren through grace,


The spirit of dissipation and irreligion that prevailed, may be conceived of by the following circumstances. A letter from a scholar at Oxford to Mr. Henry Jessey, says,

“There was a play acted here by scholers, wherein one acted the old puritan. He who acted that part came in with a narrow band, short hair, and a broad hat: a boisterous fellow comes after him, and trips up his heels, calling him a puritan rogue: at which words the old puritan shook off the dirt of his feet against him. Two of these actors are cut off; and he that acted the part of the old puritan broke a vein, and vomited so much blood in the plate that they thought he would have died in the room: he now lieth desperately sick. A woman who also joined them in the play is also dead.”

Great alterations took place at this time in the colleges, where many eminent men were displaced.

“Likewise (says Mr. Jessey) several ministers in London and Westminster, and MANY HUNDREDS throughout England, and some in Ireland, have of late been put out, or are to be put out; and we cannot hear that better are put in their places. And whereas it is said that in the time of their long parliament many centuries of ministers were displaced, it is answered that it was generally in regard of being scandalous ministers, as that century set forth by Mr. White the chair-man shows. Though it is true, some others were outed only for not taking that, engagement they would have put upon them, which was indeed a grievous evil, and was testified against by the publisher hereof, and by many who are now termed fanatics, who testified also publicly against the decimatings, &c.”

Mr. Jessey’s account respecting the ministers who were cast out is confirmed by Mr. Neal.
“The convention parliament (he says) passed several acts with relation to the late times. One was an act for the confirming and restoring of ministers, which enacts among other things, that every sequestered minister who has, not justified the late ‘king’s murder, or declared against infant baptism, shall be restored to his living before the 25th of December next ensuing, and the present incumbent shall peaceably quit it, and be accountable for dilapidations, and all arrears of fifths not paid.” —

By this act some hundreds of nonconformist ministers were dispossessed of their livings before the act of uniformity was passed.

“Here was no distinction (continues Mr. Neal) between good and had; but if the parson had been episcopally ordained, and in possession, he must be restored, though he had been ejected on the strongest evidence of immorality or scandal.”

To this should have been added, if the sequestered minister had not declared against infant baptism; a crime which had no doubt in many instances been committed, and which was of such magnitude that it could not be forgiven, but was a disqualification, while immorality and scandal were no objection. Immoral ministers were thus brought into the church of England, and pious ministers were turned out of it.
There was also an act for the “attainder of several persons guilty of the horrid murder of his late sacred majesty King Charles I., and for the perpetual observation of the thirtieth of January.”
Of the ten persons who were executed on this charge, one was Major General Harrison, who has been already mentioned as at the head of that religious party in the state who were called Fifth Monarchy-men, and were for the kingly authority of Jesus Christ, and strongly opposed to religious establishments. As this person was of considerable consequence among the Baptists during this convulsive period, it may not be improper to introduce his history in this place.
He was born in obscurity, being the sort of a butcher near Nantwich in Cheshire. He was a lawyer’s clerk; “but” says Lord Clarendon “Cromwell finding him of a spirit and disposition fit for his service, and much given to prayer and preaching, made him his confidant, as there were but few men with whom Cromwell more communicated, or upon whom he more depended.”
His lordship gives a long, account of his behaviour to the King when he received him as the commander of a troop of horse from Hurst Castle. The king, it appears, had received a violent suspicion of him from its being said that he intended to murder him; but he acknowledged on seeing him that his opinion of his character was totally changed.
It should seem that Harrison was very desirous of bringing the king to trial, and was very active on his trial and at his execution. He it was also who commanded the grenadiers when Oliver Cromwell dissolved the long parliament, and politely handed the speaker out of the chair when he manifested some reluctance to quit it. Cromwell found it convenient to cast the odium of this transaction upon Lambert and Harrison. Of the last he said,

“Major General Harrison is an honest man, and aims at good things; yet from the impatience of his spirit, he will not wait the Lord’s leisure, but hurries me on to that which he and all honest men Al live to repent.”

For a time Harrison was his particular friend because of his great influence with the religious republicans; but when Cromwell found that his republican principles did not suit his ambitious designs, and, as Mr. Baxter says,

“found himself well settled in his protectorship, he began to under-mine the sectarians, of whom Mr. Harrison was the chief; and though Cromwell had often spoke for the anabaptists, he designed now to settle himself in the people’s favour by suppressing them. Hereupon Mr. Harrison was by him made contemptible, who but yesterday thought himself not muck below him.”

He was removed from his command in the army and h s place in the senate, and committed a prisoner to Carisbrook Castle in the Isle of Wight.
We do not find that he had any command during the short period of Richard Cromwell’s government; bat after the king was restored he was brought to trial as a regicide. On his trial he manifested great intrepidity and presence of mind and great resignation to the will of God. Ludlow gives the following account of his trial. —

“When Major General Harrison was required to answer, he not only pleaded not guilty, but justified the sentence passed upon the king, and the authority of those who had commissioned him to act as one of his judges. He plainly told them, when witnesses were produced against him, that he came not thither with an intention to deny any thing he had done, but rather to bring it to light, owning his name to the warrant for executing the king to be written by himself, charging divers of those who sat on the bench as his judges to have been formerly as active for the cause which he had been engaged as himself or any other person; affirming that he had not acted by any other motive than the principles of conscience and justice. In proof of this, he said, it was well known that he had chosen to be separated from his family, and to suffer a long imprisonment, rather than comply with those who had abused the power they had assumed to the oppression of the people. He insisted, that having done nothing in relation to the matter in question otherwise than by the authority of parliament, he was not justly accountable, either to this or any other inferior court; which being a point of law, he desired to have counsel assigned him upon that head. But the court overruled; and by interrupting him frequently, and not permitting him to go on in his defence, they clearly manifested a resolution of gratifying the resentment of the court upon any terms. So that a hasty verdict was brought in against him; and the question being asked whether he had ally thing to say why judgment should not pass, he only said, that since the court had refused to hear what was fit for him to speak in his own defence, he had no more to say. On this, Bridgman pronounced the sentence. That the inhumanity of these men may the better appear, I must not omit that the executioner in an ugly dress with a halter in his hand, was placed near the Major General, and continued there during the whole of his trial; which action I doubt whether it was ever equalled by the most barbarous nations. But having learned to contemn such baseness, after the sentence was pronounced against him, he said aloud as he was withdrawing from the court, that he had no reason to be ashamed of the cause in which he had been engaged.”

“On Saturday, Oct. 13, 1660,” says the account, “he was drawn on a hurdle from Newgate to the place called Charing Cross. Within certain rails lately there made, a gibbet was erected, and he has hanged with his face looking towards the banqueting house at Whitehall, the place where our late soveriegn of eternal memory was sacrificed. Being half dead, he was cut down by the common executioner: his bowels were burned, his head severed from his body, and his body divided into quarters, which were returned back to Newgate on the same hurdle that carried it. His head is since set upon a pole on the top of the south-east end of Westminster hall looking towards London: the quarters of his body are in like manner exposed upon some of the city gates.”

His behaviour at his execution was bold and resolute. He declared at the gibbet,

“that he as fully persuaded that what he had done was the cause and work of God, which he was confident God would own and raise up again, how much soever it suffered at that time. He went through all the indignities and severities of his sufferings with a calmness, or rather cheerfulness, that astonished the spectators. He was turned off, and cut down alive; for after his body was opened, he raised himself up, and struck the executioner on the head!”

Bishop Burnett says, “The trials and executions of the first that suffered were attended by vast crowds of people. All men seemed pleased at the sight; but the firmness and shew of piety in the sufferers, who went out of the world with a sort of triumph in the cause for which they suffered, turned the minds of the populace, insomuch that the king was advised to proceed no further.
It would be difficult at this period to give a perfect representation of Mr. Harrison’s character. In the Memoirs of Col. Hutchinson lately published, Mrs. Hutchinson speaks of Major General Harrison as having “a great interest both in the army and in the churches.” She however represents him as destitute of the sincerity and simplicity of the christian character. Having mentioned the opposition made to a motion of the Colonel’s in the house, she adds,

“Of these, Major General Harrison was one; and he, when he saw he could not prevail, but that in favour particularly to Colonel Hutchinson it was carried out by his friends; after the rising of the house, meeting the Colonel, he embraced him, and desired him not to think he did it in any personal opposition to him, but in his judgment, who thought it fit the spoil should be taken out of the enemies hands, and no composition be admitted from idolators. Whatever might be of particular advantage to him he envied not, but rejoiced in; only he so dearly loved him that he desired he would not set his heart on augmenting of outward estate, but upon the things of the approaching kingdom of God, concerning which he made a most pious and seemingly friendly harangue of at least an hour long, with all the demonstrations of zeal to God and love to the Colonel that can be imagined. But the Colonel having reason to fear that he knew not his own spirit herein, made him only a short reply, that he thanked him for his counsel and should endeavour to follow it as became the duty of a Christian, and should be glad to be as effectually instructed by his example as his admonition. For at that time the major general, who was but a mean man’s son, of a mean education and no estate before the war, had gathered an estate of two thousand a year, besides engrossing great offices and encroaching upon his under officers, and maintained his coach and family at a height as if they had been born to principality.
“About the same time a great ambassador was to have public audience in the house. He came from the king of Spain, and was the first who addressed them owning them a republic. The day before his audience Colonel Hutchinson was seated in the house near some young men handsomely clad; among whom was Mr. Charles Rich, since Earl of Warwick, and the Colonel himself had on that day a habit which was pretty rich but grave, and no other than what he usually wore. Harrison addressing himself particularly to him, admonished them all that now the nations sent to them, they should labour to shine before them in wisdom, piety, righteousness and justice, and not in gold and silver and worldly bravery, which did not become saints; and the next day when the ambassador came they should not set themselves out in gorgeous habits, which were unsuitable to holy professors. The Colonel, although he was not convinced of any misbecoming bravery in the suit he wore that day, which was but a sad coloured cloth trimmed with gold and silver points and buttons, yet because he would not appear offensive in the eyes of religious persons, the next day he went in a plain black suit, and so did all the other gentlemen. But Harrison came that day in a scarlet coat and cloak, both laden with gold and silver lace, and the coat so covered with clinquant that scarcely could any one discern the ground; and in this glittering habit set himself just under the speaker’s chair, which made the other gentle-men think that his godly speeches the day before were but made that he alone might appear in the eyes of strangers. But this was part of his weakness: the Lord at last lifted him up above these poor earthly elevations, which then and some time after prevailed against him.”

Mr. Baxter says,

“Harrison as for Anabaptism and Antinomianism. He would not dispute with me at all but would in good discourse very fluently pour out himself in the extolling of free grace, which was savoury to those who had right principles, though he had some misunderstandings of free grace himself. He was a man of excellent natural parts for affection and oratory, but not well seen in the principles of his religion. He was of a sanguine complexion, naturally of such vivacity, hilarity, and alacrity, as another man hath when he hath drunken a cup too much; but naturally also so far from humble thoughts of himself that it was his ruin.”

In the memoirs of Ludlow their is a good account of Mr. Harrison, Ludlow evidently considered him a person of great piety and eminent courage. He entered early into the parliament’s cause; and was much devoted to the interests of a republican government. This led him to oppose Cromwell, for which he was sent a prisoner to Carisbrook Castle in the Isle of Wight; from whence he was some time afterwards brought by Major Strange to his own house at Highgate. A conference which Lieutenant General Ludlow had with him there is so interesting that we transcribe it as tending to develope the principles of those who were of the fifth-monarchy sentiments.

“When I was acquainted with his arrival (says Ludlow) I went to make him a visit; and having told him that I was very desirous to be informed by him of the reasons that moved him to join with Cromwell in the interruption of the civil authority; he answered that he had done it because he was persuaded they had not a heart to do any — more good for the Lord and his people. Then said I, are you not now convinced of your error in entertaining such thoughts, especially since it has been seen what use has been made of the usurped power? To which he replied, Upon their heads be the guilt who have made a wrong use of it: for my own part, my heart was upright and sincere in the thing. I answered, that I conceived it not to be sufficient in matters of so great importance to mankind, to have only good intentions and designs, unless there be also probable means of attaining those ends by the methods we are entering upon; and though it should be granted that the parliament was not inclined to make so, fall a reformation of things amiss as might be desired, yet I could not doubt but they would have done as much good for us as the nation was fitted to receive; and therefore that extraordinary means ought not to have been used till it had been clearly evident that the ordinary had failed, especially since it could not but be manifest to every man who observed the state of our affairs, that upon the suppression of our civil authority the power would immediately devolve upon that person who had the greatest interest in the army. His second reason for joining with Cromwell was, because he pretended to own and favour a set of men who acted upon higher principles than those of civil liberty. I replied that I thought him mistaken in that also, since it had not appeared that he ever approved of any persons or things farther than he might make them subservient to his own ambitious designs; reminding him that the generality of the people who had engaged with us having acted upon no higher principles than those of civil liberty, and that they may be governed by their own consent, it could not be just to treat them in another manner upon any pretences whatsoever. The major general then cited a passage of the prophet Daniel, where it is said that the saints shall take the kingdom and possess it. To which he added another to the same effect, that the kingdom shall not be left to another people. I answered, that the same prophet says in another place, that the kingdom shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; and that I conceived, if they should presume to take it before it was given, they would at the best be guilty of doing evil that good might come from it. For to deprive those of their right in the government who had contended for it equally with ourselves, were to do as we would not that others should do unto us. That such proceedings are not only unjust, but also impracticable, at least for the present; because we cannot perceive that the saints are clothed with such a spirit as the are required to be to whom the kingdom is promised; and therefore we may easily be deceived in judging who are fit for government, for many have taken upon them the form of saintship that they may be admitted to it, who yet have not acted suitably to their pretensions in the sight of God or men. In proof of which we need go no farther than to those very persons, who had drawn him to assist them in their design of exalting themselves, under the specious pretence of exalting the kingdom of Christ.
“He confessed himself not able td answer the arguments I had used, yet said he was not convinced that the texts of scripture quoted by him were not to be interpreted in the sense he had taken them, and therefore desired a farther conference with me at another time, when each of us might be accompanied with some friends to assist us in the clearing of this matter. I consented to his proposal, and so we parted; but from that time forward we had not an opportunity to discourse farther upon this subject.”

Ludlow says that when Mr. Harrison was seized, though he had notice of their Intentions, he refused to withdraw himself from his house, accounting such an action to he a desertion of the cause which he had engaged.

“But I shall not (continues he) take upon a to censure the conduct of the major general, not knowing what extraordinary impulse he might be under, or what effect his piety, courage, and virtue, had upon his mind in that conjuncture. Sure I am, he was every way so qualified for the part he had in the following sufferings that even his enemies were astonished and confounded.”

While Mr. Harrison was in confinement there was published by some person not very friendly towards him a single sheet, entitled, A Declaration of Major General Harrison, prisoner in the tower of London; with his rules and precepts to all publick churches , and private congregations: and an answer thereto: also, the Resolution of the Fifth-Monarchy Men, Anabaptists, Quakers, and others. What is called his declaration is as follows.

“Since the committing of Major General Harrison to the tower of London, divers of his friends’ and relations have had a conference with him, touching the grounds and motives of his actions. To which he declared, that he was thoroughly convinced of the justness of the cause he first engaged in that he esteemed reading of the word of God an ordinance of God, both in private and in publick, but did not account reading to be preaching; that he esteemed that preaching best wherein there was most of God and least of man, when vain flourishes of wit and words were declined, and the demonstration of God’s spirit and power studied; yet could he distinguish between purest plainness, and negligent rudeness: that he account perspicuity the best grace of a preacher, and that method best which was most helpful to understanding, affection, and memory; that he esteemed the Lord’s-day a divine ordinance and rest on it necessary so far as conduced to holiness: that he was very conscientious in observing that day as the mart day of the soul: that he was very careful to remember it, to get house and heart in order for it, and when it came was studious to improve it: that he redeemed the morning from superfluous sleep, and watched the whole day over his thoughts and words not only to restrain them from wickedness but worldliness, and that all the parts of the day were alike holy to him, and his care was continued in it, in ‘variety of holy duties: whit he heard in publick he repeated in private, to whet it upon himself and family: which rules and precepts, he desired to be made practicable throughout all publick and private congregations, for the enlightening the dark corners of the earth, &c.”

In the pretended answer to this, though the design was certainly to degrade those who had been opposed to regal authority, it is gratifying to find that there is not any thing said against the conduct of Mr. Harrison as being at variauce with his professions.
But he had unhappily imbibed, without knowing it, the erroneous popish sentiment, that dominion is founded in grace . Forgetting the declaration of the Saviour, “My kingdom is not of this world,” he had formed the ridiculous design of setting up by the sword that kingdom which should never be moved. His zeal and courage made him a convenient person to introduce those to power whose ambition led them to assume the chief authority. Had he listened to the advice given to Peter, “Put up thy sword into its sheath,” he would not have known the meaning of the concluding sentence in the way he did: All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.
Though Major General Harrison was a Baptist at the time of his trial and execution; yet he was not at the period of the King’s death. Anthony Wood says he was not baptized till the year 1657. And from Thurloe’s State Papers it is certain that he did not join the Baptists till after be had been displaced from his command by Cromwell in 1653. So that there is no evidence of any Baptist being among the King’s Judges. This is confirmed by a letter written about the year 1670, by Captain Richard Deane to Dr. Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, from which, as it contains considerable information concerning the Baptists in the time of Charles I. and their conduct in the state, we shall make the following extract: —

“My Lord,

“THE ground of my humbly tendering these ensuing pages to your lordship, is your declared condescension to peruse any small treatise that should be presented to you concerning the proper subject and administration of baptism. That they may in your lordship’s charity, so far as their conversation suits with their doctrine, be admitted among the number of sincere christians, I intend to bring to your remembrance some of their leaders, and the occasions which prepared the way for the increase of their numbers.
“About thirty-eight years since, in the heat of our late troubles, episcopacy being laid aside, and presbytery only as it were by way of experiment for a season attempted, but never its a national way prosecuted with effect, every man was at liberty to pursue the persuasions of his own mind, as to entering into church-fellowship in distinct congregations, and therein to join with such as he conceived came nearest to the primitive pattern in worship and discipline. About that time and a little after these were many Ministers, some who had been before ordained, and others who had been admitted to parochial and other public charges. Among whom of my acquaintance were Mr. Tombes, sometime preacher at the temple; Mk. Christopher Blackwood in Kent, Mr. Benjamin Cox at Bedford, Mr. Edward Harrison, Mr. Daniel Dyke, and some others in or near Hertfordshire; Mr. Hansard Knollys, and many others who did openly profess, and several of them write and publish their opinions concerning the proper subject and manner of baptism. Some of them voluntarily left their parochial charges and benefices, as not approving the baptizing of infants, and collected distinct congregations of such’ as agreed with them in this doctrine of baptism; which by a succession of ordained ministers in the places of such as are dead, remain to this day.
“In the year 1649, the Baptists greatly increased in the country, and their opinions did likewise spread, themselves into some of the regiments of horse and foot in the army; and, that in 1650 and afterwards, some professing this opinion were called from their private employments, and preferred to, commands at sea. Among others, Captain Mildmay; to command the admiral flag ship, under the late Duke of Albemarle, when he was one of the generals at sea. Captain Pack, to command the flag ship under Sir George Ascue, rear admiral; Sir John Barman, to command the admiral flag ship under his royal highness the Duke Of York.
“But notwithstanding some of this sect had that countenance given them as I have mentioned, by such as had the principal management of affairs; yet this sect in general, as they have published in their apologies, were the least of any sort of people concerned in any vicissitudes of government that happened among us. My station within the aforementioned ten years gave me opportunity to know most persons and actions of note, in reference as well to civil as martial affairs, and particularly those of this sect. And although in and after the year 1649, their numbers did increase, insomuch that the principal officers in divers regiments of horse and foot became Anabaptists, particularly in Oliver Cromwell’s own regiment of horse when he was captain general of all the parliament’s forces, and in the Duke of Albemarle’s own regiment of foot when he was general of all the English forces in Scotland; yet by the best information I could have, there were not at any time before the year 1649, twenty. Anabaptists in any, sort of command in the whole army; and until after the year 1648, there were no more than two, viz. Mr. Lawrence, and Mr. John Fiennes, one of the Lord Say’s sons, who made profession of this opinion, chosen into the commons house of parIiament, and both these did in that year and in the lifetime of King Charles I., as I have been credibly informed, voluntarily departed from that parliament, as not approving their proceedings against the person of the king, and sat no more in it, but lived privately until about six years afterwards. A new form of government being then formed and in appearance settled, Mr. Lawrence was again called into public employment.
“I confess to your lordship, I never heard of any Anabaptist in the King’s army during the contest between his majesty and the parliament: and perhaps, because there were some in the parliament’s army and none in the king’s army, same persons have from thence taken occasion to affirm that the opinion of Anabaptism in the church is opposite to monarchy in the state. It is true, as before is mentioned, that this opinion was no general bar to the continuance of such as did embrace it in public employments, though I have cause to believe that one special reason of disbanding one entire regiment in the Earl of Essex’s army was because the Colonel entertained and gave countenance to Separatists and some Anabaptists. And that which occasioned Oliver Cromwell, after he usurped the government of lord protector, to discharge at once all, the principal officers of his own regiments upon other pretences was for that they were all Anabaptists.”

This letter is highly creditable to the Baptists, as it goes to prove that they disapproved of the execution of the king, and were adverse to the usurpation of Cromwell.
Another person of eminence among the Baptists was Colonel Hutchinson. He was one of the, king’s judges, and governor of Nottingham during the time of the civil wars. In the field and in the senate he distinguished himself as a person of great courage, judgment, piety and liberality. The occasion of his embracing the sentiments of the Baptists was very extraordinary, and is related with all that smplicity and good sense which characterize the whole of that inestimable work.

“At Nottingham they had gotten a very able minister into the great church, but a bitter presbyterian. Him and his brethren, my Lady Fairfax caressed with so much kindness that they grew impudent to preach up their faction openly in the pulpit, and to revile the others, and at length they would not suffer any of the army chaplains to preach in the town. They then coming to the governor and complaining of their unkind usuage, he invited them to come and preach in his house, which when it was known they did there was a great concourse of people came thither to them; and the presbyterians when they heard it were madded with rage, not only against them but against the governor, who accidentally gave them another occasion about the same time. When formerly the Presbyterian ministers forced him for quietness sake to go and break up a private meeting in the cannoniers’ chamber, there were found some notes concerning paedobaptism, which being brought into the governor’s lodgings, his wife having then more leisure to read than he, having perused and compared them with the scriptures, found not what to say against the truths they asserted concerning the misapplication of that ordinance to infants: but being then young and modest, she thought it a kind of virtue to submit to the judgment and practice of most churches rather than defend a singular opinion of her own, she not being then enlightened in that great mistake of the national churches. But in this year she happening to be with child, communicated her doubts to her husband and desired him to endeavour her satisfaction; and while he did, he himself became as unsatisfied, or rather satisfied against it. First therefore, he diligently searched the scriptures alone, and could find in them no ground at all for this practice. Then he bought and read all the treatises on both sides, which at that time came thick from the presses, and still was cleared in the error of the paedobaptists. After this, his wife being brought to bed, that he might if possible give the religious party no offence, he invited all the ministers to dinner, and propounded his doubt and the ground thereof to them. None of them could defend their practice with any satisfactory reason, but the tradition of the church from the primitive times, and their main buckler of federal holiness, which Tombes and Denne had excellently overthrown. He and his wife then professing themselves unsatisfied in the practice, desired their opinions what they ought to do. Most answered, to conform to the general practice of other christians, how dark soever it were to themselves; but Mr. Foxcraft, one of the assembly, said that except they were convinced of the warrant of that practice from the word, they sinned in doing it; where-upon that infant was not baptized. And now the governor and his wife, notwithstanding that they forsook not their assemblies nor retracted their benevolences and civilities from them; yet they were reviled by them, called fanatics and Anabaptists, and often glanced at in their public sermons. Not only the ministers, but all their zealous sectaries conceived implacable malice against them on that account, which was carried on with a spirit of envy and persecution to the last; though he on his side might well have said to them, as his Master to the old pharisees, “Many good works have I done among you; for which of these do ye hate me?” Yet the generality even of that people had a secret conviction upon them that he had been faithful to them and deserved their love; and in spite of their own bitter zeal, they could not but have a reverent esteem for him whom they often railed at for not thinking and speaking according to their opinions.”

The editor of this admirable work, who is a clergyman of the established church, has remarked in a note, “Surely this shows an unbecoming propensity to speculate in religion; the story is however told with candour.” It is rather wonderful that such an observation should have been made by a gentleman who appears in general to think correctly and to write with liberality. When speaking of their patriotism he says, he is “more proud of it than if he could count among his ancestors the most illustrious of traitors!” But they were by what he calls their unwarrantable propensity to speculate in religion, led to embrace the principles of the Baptists.
Soon after the Restoration the celebrated John Bunyan felt the weight of persecution. He had now been a preacher of the gospel about five years, and was exceedingly popular, though he still followed his business as a travelling tinker. The circumstances attending this event are related by himself in an “account of his imprisonment, &c.” It appears that as he was preaching at a village called Samsell by Harlington, in Bedfordshire, Nov. 1 1660, he was interrupted by a constable, and obliged to desist. This was at the instance of Mr. Francis Wingate, a justice of the peace, who had issued a warrant for his apprehension. This was done it seems principally for the purpose of intimidation, as Mr. Bunyan says, that “had he been minded to play the coward, he could have escaped and kept out of their hands.” But concluding that his manifesting fear would have a bad effect on the minds of other ministers and Christians, he resolved to bear the brunt, “seeing God of his mercy would choose me (says he) to go upon the forlorn hope in this country; that ‘is, to be the first who should be opposed for the gospel.” It is likely from this that he was one of the first ministers, whose courage and ‘faithfulness were put to the test; nor could the trial have fallen on a person more eminently qualified to resist the oppressions of arbitrary power in matters of conscience.
The next morning he was taken before the justice, who asked the constable what the people did who were assembled together, and what they had with them. Mr. Bunyan understood him as intending to enquire whether they had any arms and ammunition. When the constable told him there were only n few persons who met to worship God, the justice was evidently embarrassed; but told Mr. Bunyan that what be did was against the law, and that he was resolved to bleak the neck of such meetings; and that if he could not find sureties, he would certainly send him to prison.
Mr. Bunyan soon procured sureties, who were told that “they were bound to keep him from preaching; and that if he did preach, their bonds would be forfeited.” To which, says Mr. Runyan, I answered, “that then I should break them; for I should not leave speaking the word of God.” His mittimus was accordingly made out, and he was committed to the custody of the constable to be conveyed to Bedford jail.
In the way thither they were met by two of his brethren; who desired the constable to stay while they endeavoured through the influence of a professed friend to prevail on the magistrate for his release. After much conversation he agreed that if be would come to him again, and “say some certain words to him, he should be released.” When Mr. Bunyan was told this, he replied, that “if the words were such as he could utter with a good conscience, he should; otherwise he should not.” It was now proposed to him that if he would promise not to call the people together any more, he should have his liberty; which was explained; to mean, that he should not preach to a body of people collected for the purpose of hearing him. To this he would not agree; and when the justice found he was at a point, and would not be persuaded, he again ordered him to be sent to prison.
After he had been in jail five or six days, his friends again attempted to get him out by obtaining bondsmen; for his mittimus expressed that he should lie there till he could obtain sureties. They accordingly applied to a Mr. Crompton, a justice at Elstow, the village where Mr. Bunyan resided. But he refused to interfere, fearing he said that there was more against him than was expressed in the mittimus; so that he returned again to prison.
About Seven weeks after, he was brought to trial at the quarter sessions held at Bedford in January 1661. A bill of indictment was preferred against him to the following effect:

“That John Bunyan of the town of Bedford, labourer, being a person of such and such conditions, hath since such a time devilishly and perniciously abstained from coming to church to hear divine service, and is a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and destruction of the good subjects of this kingdom, contrary to the laws of our sovereign lord the king, &c.”

After a great deal of conversation with the justices, in which he displayed great fortitude and presence of mind, Justice Keeling addressing him said, “Then you confess the indictment, do you not?” Till now, Mr. Bunyan appears to have considered this conversation as merely an examination, and did not know that he was put, on his trial, knowing nothing of the indictment. He therefore replied,

“This I confess, we have had many meetings together, both to pray to God and exhort one another, and we had the sweet comforting presence of the Lord amongst us for our encouragement, blessed be his name! Therefore I confess myself guilty, and no otherwise.”

On this pretended confession of his crime, without producing any witnesses to substantiate the charges against him, Justice Keeling proceeded to pass judgment upon him, which, was to the following effect.

“You must be had back again to prison, and there lie for three months following and at three months end, if you do not submit and go to church to hear divine service, and leave your preaching, you must be banished the realm: and if after such a day as shall be appointed you to be gone, you shall be found in this realm, you must stretch by the neck for it, I tell you plainly.”

He then ordered the jailor to take him away. To this Mr. Bunyan replied, “As to that matter, I am at a point; for if I were out of prison to-day, I would preach the gospel again to-morrow, by the help of God.”
Perhaps the reader may wish to know upon what law of the land this commitment was founded. Let it be recollected then, that on the restoration of the king all the acts which had been passed during the period of the civil wars were declared null and void; consequently it was inferred that all the acts inexistence before this time were sill in force. In the reign of Elizabeth an act was passed to suppress the increase of the puritans, which enacted that

“if any person above the age of sixteen years who shall obstinately refuse to repair to some church, chapel, or usual place of common-prayer, to hear divine service, and shall forbear the same for the space of a month after without any lawful cause, or shall by preaching, writing, or express words or speeches advisedly and purposely practise and go about to persuade any person to deny, withstand, or impugn her majesty’s power and authority in causes ecclesiastical, united and annexed to the civil power of this realm; or to that end and purpose shall advisedly and maliciously move any person to forbear or abstain from coming to church to hear divine service, or to receive the communion, or to be present at any unlawful assemblies, conventicles; and meetings, under colour or pretence of any such exercise of religion; he shall be committed to prison until he shall conform and go to church, and make submission as hereafter is expressed.”

This obsolete law, which it is probable most persons were ignorant of, seeing it had not been acted upon since the reign of Elizabeth, was now made the pretext for renewing the persecution against dissenters at a time when no notice had been taken of their meetings by the legislative body, and while the king’s declaration at Breda was still warm, namely,

“We do declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question for differences in opinion in matters of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom.”

About three months afterwards, Mr. Cobb, the town clerk of Bedford, was sent by the justices to admonish Runyan, and demand his submission to the church of England. In this conference Bunyan told him that be did not conceive that the law by which he was committed to prison reached his case, as it was made to prevent the assembling of those who designing to do evil at their meetings made religion their pretence to cover their wickedness: or as the act expresses, “under colour or pretence of any exercise of religion, &c.” There can be no doubt however but the law was made to prevent the meetings of the puritans in private houses, which was not admitted by the high church party to be any exercise of religion in reality, but merely in pretence.
In reply, Mr. Cobb mentioned Venner’s insurrection which we shall presently relate, and which had just now happened.

“Every one will say as you do (said Cobb) under what glorious pretences they went; and yet indeed they intended no less than the ruin of the common wealth.”

To this Mr. Bunyan answered,

“That practice of theirs I abhor; yet it does not follow that because they did so, therefore all others will do so. I look upon it as my duty to behave myself under the king’s government both as it becomes a man and a christian; and if occasion were offered me, I would willingly manifest my loyalty to my prince both by word and deed.”

When Mr. Cobb pressed his compliance by the authority of the king, Bunyan replied that in all civil matters he certainly should submit to the powers that were; but in matters of conscience, says he,

“The law hath provided two ways of obeying; the one to do that which I in my conscience do believe I am bound to ‘do actively; and where I cannot obey actively,’ there I am willing to lie down and suffer what they shall do to me.”

This put an end to the conversation.
A few weeks afterwards, April 23, Charles II. was crowned, and a great many prisoners were released, indeed all who had been committed on account of religion since his return, a general pardon being granted. But the enemies of Bunyan contrived to prevent his sharing in this favour by saying, that as he was a convicted person, he must sue out his pardon. This he refused to do, as it would have been a tacit acknowledgment of guilt, which he could not conscientiously admit. As however the king’s proclamation allowed twelve months for any to petition for a pardon, they could not then carry the sentence of banishment into execution.
He was kept in prison notwithstanding; and when the assizes were held in August, he presented a petition to the judges three times by the hands of his wife, that they would impartially take his case into consideration. The poor woman was treated kindly, and indeed affectionately, by Judge Hale, but with great severity by Judge Twisden who was on the circuit with him. This unjust judge said, “What, do you think we can do as we list? Your husband is a breaker of the peace, and is convicted by the law.” This she resolutely denied, by saying, “It was but a word of discourse which they took for a conviction;” and added,

“I was a while since at London to see if I could get my husband’s liberty, and then I spoke with my Lord Barkwood, one of the house of lords, to whom I delivered a petition, and who presented it to the house of lords for my husband’s releasement. They told me they could not do it, but had committed it to the judges at the next assizes. This he told me; and now I am come to you to see if any thing can be done in this business, and you give neither releasement or relief.”

After some farther conversation, Judge Hale answered very mildly,

“I tell thee, woman, seeing it is so that they have taken what thy husband spoke for a conviction, thou must either apply thyself to the king, or sue out his pardon, or get a writ of error.”

By this it should seem that Lord Hale thought they had not legally convicted him, as he repeated his intimation by saying, “a writ of error will be cheapest.” His endeavours to serve Bunyan were however unavailing, for he was still left in prison.
Probably these circumstances induced the jailor to allow him the liberty of going abroad to preach as usual, and it is not unlikely but the magistrates were afraid of a prosecution for false imprisonment. However this was, it is certain he visited all his old, friends in the country, and “exhorted them to be steadfast in the, faith of Christ, and to take heed that they touched not the common-prayer book, etc., but to mind the word of God which giveth directions to christians in every point.” He also visited his christian friends in London; but his enemies hearing of it, threatened to indict the jailor, and had nearly succeeded in getting him out of his place. After this Bunyan was so straitened that for seven years he could not look out of the door of his prison. All attempts to procure his release totally failed, and he was detained a prisoner till the year 1672, when he was discharged by means of Dr. Barlow, who received an order from the lord chancellor. This treatment of Mr. Bunyan was but a sample of the usage which was experienced by dissenters in every part of the land.
The circumstance alluded, to which furnished the government with a pretext for rigorous measures against the dissenters was Veneer’s insurrection. This is related by Rapin as follows.

“The year 1661 was ushered in by an extraordinary event which gave the court a pretence for breaking through the declaration of indulgence which had been published. This was an insurrection of some fifth-monarchy men who believed themselves bound in conscience to use their utmost endeavours to advance the kingdom of Christ upon earth. On the sixth of January, while the king was attending the queen mother and the princess his sister on their return to France, about fifty of these men, under the conduct of one Thomas Vernier, assembled in the evening in St. Paul’s church yard, and killed a man who upon demand had answered, For God and the King. This giving an alarm to the city, some trained, bands were sent against them, whom these men quickly routed and then marched through several streets, and at last retired to Cane Wood between Highgate and Hampstead; from whence a party of horse and foot sent against’ them by General Monk dislodged them, and took some prisoners. But this did not prevent the rest from returning to the city, where they fought furiously, till they were obliged to take sanctuary in a house. They then defended themselves like men fearless of death, or rather as secure from all danger under the protection of Jesus Christ. Here it was that Venner, being wounded, and twenty of his men killed, with as many of the assailants, was taken with the rest of his fellows. A few days after, they were all tried, condemned, and executed, without any confession of guilt, and persisting in their extravagancies to the last. Two young men only shewed some signs of repentance.”

The king took occasion from this insurrection to publish a proclamation forbidding all meetings and conventicles under pretence of religion, and commanding the oath of allegiance and supremacy to be tendered to all persons disaffected to the government; and in case of refusal, they were to be prosecuted. The consequence was that numbers of Baptists and other dissenters were imprisoned, and their meetings every where disturbed.
The Baptists soon after presented an address to the king, disavowing all knowledge of this mad affair, and expressing their disapprobation of it. ‘This is preserved in a work published by Mr Thomas Grantham, entitled, Christianismus Primitivus, and is as follows: —

“The humble apology of some commonly called Anabaptists in behalf of themselves and others of the same judgment with them; with their protestation against the late wicked and most horrid, treasonable, insurrection and rebellion acted in the city of London; together with an apology formerly presented to the king’s most excellent majesty.
“We should be stupid and senseless, if we did not deeply resent those black obloquies and reproaches cast upon those of our profession and practice in the point of baptism, by occasion of the late most horrid treason and rebellion in this city, of London. — We most sadly see and feel that among many it is become enough to render any man criminal to be called an Anabaptist, or at least a ground sufficient to question his loyalty and fidelity to the king’s majesty. We may not therefore be so negligent of our duty to God in respect of our profession, or unto ourselves and families, as silently to suffer our names and profession to be buried under such causeless infamy. Neither may we be so much wanting in our duty to our king as by such sullen silence to offer his majesty just occasion of being jealous and suspicious of our loyalty and obedience; or to leave him without all possible rational security of our humble subjection and fidelity to him.
“We acknowledge that the histories of Germany relate most dreadful things of the impious opinions and practices of some reputed Anabaptists, destructive to all government and human society. Although it is to be observed what Cassander, a learned and moderate papist relates, in his epistle to the Duke of Gulick and Cleve, to this purpose; that there were certain people in Germany bearing the name of Anabaptists who resisted and opposed the opinions and practices of those at Munster, and taught the contrary doctrine; whereby in his opinion they appeared to be incited by a godly mind, and rendered themselves rather worthy of pity than of persecution and perdition. And that in Holland those who have succeeded them do in doctrine and practice adhere to the same peaceable principles, is publicly known. But the misguided zeal of some otherwise minded in the point of baptism, hath frequently though unduly imputed the like impious opinions, designs, and intentions, unto all that are called by that name; although their souls abhor the very memory of such impious doctrines, and their bloody consequences. That such evil opinions and practices are no natural or necessary consequence of the doctrine of baptism, nor of any possible connexion with it, is easily to be discerned: yet by the like mistake we now suffer under jealousies, through the wicked treason, rebellion, and murder, of a few heady and distempered persons; pretending to introduce a civil and temporal reign and government of Jesus Christ by their swords, and to subvert all civil government and authority. Yet we cannot imagine a reason why their bloody tenets and tragical actions should reflect on those of our persuasion, the persons not being of our belief or practice about baptism. But to the best of our information they were all, except one, asserters of infant baptism, and never had a communion with us in our assemblies, nor hath there been any correspondence or converse between us: but contrariwise, in their meetings they have inveighed bitterly against us as worshippers of the beast, because of our constantly declaring against their conceited wild interpretations of dark prophecies, and enthusiastical impulses, and professing and practising our duty of subjection to the civil magistracy.
“And it is as notoriously known that the very same persona, or at least the leaders and the most of them, formerly advanced their pretended standard of Jesus Christ as much against us as against any others. And it is as publicly known that even in this their rebellion, such of us as were called thereunto, which were many, were ready to hazard our lives to suppress them. And if such a constant continued opposition unto the impious tenets and practices of these persons, both in our doctrine and lives, will not be esteemed a pregnant and cogent evidence of our unspotted innocence from their treason and rebellion, and satisfy every man that our souls never entered into their secrets, we can only appeal to the all-seeing God, the Judge of all the earth, to vindicate us in his righteous judgment, who, we are assured will judge and do right. In whose presence we protest that we neither had the least for-knowledge of the said late treasonable insurrection, nor did any of us in any kind or degree whatsoever, directly or indirectly, contrive, promote, assist, abet, or approve the same; but do esteem it our duty to God, to his majesty, and to our neighbour, not only to be obedient, but also to use our utmost industry to prevent all such treasons, murders, and rebellions, and to use in all our assemblies constant prayers and supplications for his majesty.
“Wherefore we humbly beseech his majesty, and desire all our fellow subjects that our actions, doctrines, and lives, may be the only glasses through which they will look into our hearts, and pass judgment upon us; and that the tenets or opinions of others, either in this or foreign kingdoms, may not be imputed to us, when our doctrines and lives do declare our abhorrence of them. We believing that Jesus Christ himself, his apostles and Christian religion, do consist with and obey the imperial government that then was in the world; and that we ought to obey his majesty not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
“We desire therefore that it may be considered without prejudice, Whether our persuasion in the matter of baptism hath any connexion with these doctrines against government? Or whether these can be the probable consequences or inferences front our doctrine concerning baptism? And we pray that it may be seriously considered whether it be rational, just, or christian, to impute all the errors and wickednesses of any sect of christians in one age or country to the persons of another age and country, called by the name of the former? Especially when these errors or impieties gave not the name to the sect, as in our case, nor can be reasonably supposed to be the consequences of that opinion from whence the sect had its denomination.
“It would not be held just to aver every protestant to believe consubstantiation, or absolute predestination and reprobation, because Luther was zealous in the one, and Calvin in the other. Why therefore should the errors and impieties of others he imputed to us, whilst we earnestly contend against them? And as to our doctrine of baptism, we hope every christian that hath searched the scriptures knoweth that there wants not so much evidence at least for our opinion and practice, as christian charity may well allow, although in some men’s judgments We should be esteemed mistaken. It will easily be granted by the learned that there is no impiety in our doctrine of baptism, nor opposition to civil government, or his majesty’s authority; neither can the injury of our neighbour be the natural consequence of it.
“Therefore we humbly hope that the omnipotent power of heaven and earth will so dispose his majesty and his people’s hearts, that we may worship God in peace and freedom according to the faith we have received, living a peaceable and quiet life in all godliness and honesty.
P. S. “That it, may yet more fully appear, that our principles suggested in this apology about subjection to magistracy and government against the contrary opinions and practices are not new, much less proceeding from ‘us Upon the unsuccessfulness of this tragical enterprise, we have thought fit herewith to publish an apology of our ancient’ and constant principles, presented with our humble petition to the king’s most excellent majesty, some months since, in the year 1660.

These signatures are those of the Particular Baptist ministers, and some of the principal members of their congregations. The other apology, presented a few months before on the return of the king, contains principles exactly similar, and in that they had referred to their confession of faith of the seven churches in London, printed in the several years of 1651, 1646, 1644. Also to a “declaration concerning a public dispute,” printed in 1645; likewise a “declaration by the several congregational societies, in and about the city of London, in a way of vindication of themselves, touching liberty, magistracy, &c.,” printed in 1647. Also a “declaration of divers elders and brethren of congregational societies in and about the city of London, Nov. 10, 1651.” And the “declaration of several of the people called Anabaptists in and about the city of London, Dec. 12, 1659, the answer to the first crimination.” — Crosby informs us that he found written at the end of these ‘minted apologies, the following declaration.

“Mr. Jessey preaching soon after, declared to his congregation that Venner should say, he believed there was not one Baptist among them; and that if they succeeded, the Baptists should know that infant baptism was an ordinance of Jesus Christ. Mr. Gravener was present at Veneer’s meeting house in Coleman street, and heard him say this; from whose mouth, (says the writer,) I had this account.”

The Baptists and other dissenters not only protested publicly against Venner’s insurrection, but made an appeal to the several confessions of faith they had published, in which they had avowed their sentiments respecting magistracy and the duties they owed to civil governors. But not-withstanding these was no ground of suspicion which could attach to them, yet vast numbers of them both in the city and in the country were, imprisoned, and their places of worship every where interrupted.
About this time was published an address to the king, the parliament, and the people, entitled, Sion’s groans for her distressed; or sober endeavours to prevent innocent blood, &c. This bears date March 8, 1661, and is signed by Thomas Monck, William Jeffery, William Reynolds, Joseph Wright, Francis Stanley, Francis Smith, and George Hammon.
Two of these persons, George Hammon and William Jeffery, the former a minister at Canterbury, and the other at Seven Oaks in Kent, with many others, were prisoners in Maidstone jail. While here they published a work entitled, The humble petition, and representation of the sufferings of several peaceable and innocent subjects, called by the name of Anabaptists, inhabitants of the county of Kent, and prisoners in the jail of Maidstone for the testimony of a good conscience. This was as follows: —

“To his Majesty Charles H. King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging.

“May it please your Majesty,
“FORASMUCH as by authority derived from yourself, several of us your subjects, inhabitants in the county of Kent, are now imprisoned; it therefore much concerns thee, oh king, to hear what account we give of our distressed condition. Thou hast already seen our confession of faith, wherein our peaceable resolutions were declared. We have not violated any, part thereof, that should cause that liberty promised from Breda to be withdrawn. And now for our principles that most particularly relate to magistrates and government, we have with all clearness laid them before thee; humbly beseeching they may be read patiently, and what we say weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, and then judge how worthy we are of bonds and imprisonment. And this we the more earnestly desire, because not only our own lives are in danger, but also an irresistible destruction cometh on our wives and little ones by that violence which is now exercised on us Disdain not our plainness in speaking, seeing the great God accepts of the like. And now, oh king, that all thy proceedings, both towards us and all men, may he such as may be pleasing to the eternal God, in whose hands thy and our breath is, who ere long will judge both quick and dead according to their works, is the prayer of thy faithful subjects and servants.
After stating their sentiments respecting the king’s authority, they conclude with an earnest supplication that they may have liberty to worship God; and it is signed in the name of the Baptists now prisoners in the jail of Maid-stone, by

A very similar address was presented to the king by several Baptists who were imprisoned at Dover. The magistrates here were very severe; and after harassing them a great deal, sent ten of them to prison, where they were kept for a considerable time. Amongst these it is supposed was Mr. Samuel Taverner, who had been Governor of Dover Castle but was now a Baptist minister.
In this Year there was a small piece published by Mr. John Griffith, a general Baptist minister, in London, entitled a complaint of the oppressed against oppressors; or the unjust and arbitrary proceedings of some soldiers and justices against some sober godly persons in and near London , in which he complains of the persecution of many godly persons to whose characters their adversaries could not impute the least spot of infamy; of their being seized, and taken out of their beds at midnight, by soldiers with drawn swords, without any warrant from a justice of the peace; of others being taken in their religions assemblies, the doors of which were open that all might hear what they said, and see what they did; and of others being assaulted by soldiers whilst they were passing along the streets about their lawful employments, and carried without a warrant before justices who acted in a manner unworthy of the office which they sustained.
When the laws themselves were cruel, and tie violence of magistrates went beyond them, the sufferings of Christians must have been great, No redress was to be obtained but by an appeal to the king, of which we have many instances. Amongst others Mr. John Sturgion a Baptist, in the year 1662 published a tract which he entitled a plea for toleration of opinions and persuasions in matters of religion, differing from the church of England ; humbly presented to the king’s most excellent majesty. The introduction is as follows. —

“May it please your Majesty,
“I have had strong impulses ripen my mind for some days, to present this paper to your majesty; and I humbly hope it will not be made to suffer much under an evil resentment upon its presentation to your hand, because it bears a testimony of the author’s good affection to your royal self. For my witness is on high, that I did not write this paper because I love you not, because I honour you not, because I own you not in your royal capacity of magistracy and civil power. God knoweth that you have not any subject more Christianly real or cordial unto you. I humbly beg that your majesty would be pleased so far to deny yourself as to read it with patience, and judge of it as you shall see cause.”

After some reasonings with his majesty respecting the prohibition of all meetings whatsoever, he thus proceeds —

“And may it farther please your majesty to consider your afflicted and innocent subjects, how they have been, haled from their peaceable habitations, and thrust into prisons, almost in all counties in England. Many are still detained to the undoing of themselves and families; and most of them are poor men whose livelihood, under God, depends upon the labour of their own hands. So that they lie under more than an ordinary calamity, there being so many thrust into little rooms together that they are an annoyance to each other, especially in the city of London, where the lord mayor crowds them very close together; that it hath been observed, the keepers have complained they have had too many guests; and whilst they stiffer there, some of their wives and tender babes want bread at home.”

After giving several reasons why the magistrates should use no restraint or force in matters of religion, he says,

“Now if your majesty will but consider what it is that the baptized people and divers others have made such earnest suit to your majesty for: it is not for titles of honour, nor for places of profit, either in a civil or ecclesiastical capacity; but only this is their request and humble desire, That we may serve the Lord without molestation in that faith and order which we have learned in the holy scriptures; giving honour to our king to whom honour belongs, fear to whom fear, tribute to whom tribute belongs; in every thing as far as we have abilities, to render to God the things that are God’s, and to the magistrate the things that are his.”

Instead of any relief being afforded, the persecution at this time very much increased in consequence of some report of a plot which was said to endanger the government. The meetings of the dissenters were broken up throughout the

city, and such as were found assembling were put into prison. Among these were Dr. John Griffith, author of the work before mentioned, entitled The complaint of the oppressed &c.,” who was apprehended and committed to Newgate, where he lay seventeen months for no other crime than that of preaching to a congregation of protestant dissenters.
This storm was not confined to the city, but extended to different parts of the country; and in many places very great opposition was made to the Baptists, who appear to have been the sect every where spoken against. These sufferings produced a pamphlet, entitled, Behold a cry; or a true relation of the inhuman and violent outrages of divers soldiers , constables, and others, practised upon marry of the Lord’s people, commonly though falsely called Anabaptists, at their several meetings in and about London. It is thus introduced:

“The sundry and divers abuses that have been offered time after time to the free-born people of England, contrary to Magna Charta and the Petition of right, and all the known laws of the land, with the declaration and proclamation of the king that now is, we cannot suppose the nation wholly ignorant of it. But it is known how inhumanly they have been used, and with what violence soldiers and others have proceeded in several places where they have in the fear of the Lord been assembled! their usual manner being to come with soldiers, which commonly were rude youths or mercenary men, with their swords drawn, to the affrighting of women and children, breaking and spoiling their goods, doing violence to heir persons by pulling, haling, and beating them!
“Now that all, both magistrates and people, may be rightly informed, the mouth of falsehood and scandal stopped, and such abuses redressed, we shall in particular give a brief hint of some of them as follows.
“In June 1661, there came divers rude soldiers, wicked swearing and debauched persons to the meeting house in Brick-lane near Whitechapel, and laid hands on several men to the number of more than twenty, who in a peaceable manner demanded of them their warrant for so doing. But they would not shew any authority; which one William Caswell seeing, he said to this purpose; that if they had a warrant, he would obey it; but if they had none, they should carry him, for he would not go. With that they beat him with their hangers about the head, and pulled him along by force; sometimes taking him up between three or four of them, and then letting him fall with violence into the dirt; pushing with great force his stomach and breast against the rails, insomuch that with blows awl falls he is deprived of health to this day. When several of the actors of this tragedy were arrested, and a suit commenced against them according to law, they were suddenly surprised and prevented by John Robinson [the keeper of the tower] who granted a warrant to sieze the body of Thomas Hull, and the aforesaid William Caswell. The said Thomas Hull being taken in the street by virtue of the aforesaid warrant, and caviled before John Robinson, he in a fury asked him how he durst arrest his soldiers; and would not take bail, but sent him to Newgate. One person who merely accompanied him, and desired to bail him, was also committed to prison; where they both lay about ten or twelve days before they could be bailed, and were held bound from sessions to sessions for a long time after, before they could be discharged.”

This will give us some idea of the little regard that was paid even to the proclamation of the King, which was issued Jan. 10, 1660, and which declared, “that if any should be so hardy as to seize the persons of any without warrant, they should be left open to the law to be proceeded against, and to receive according to their demerit.” The case was now altered. At the time this proclamation was made, the king needed the support of religious people; but having got established in the kingdom, he soon discovered his infidelity and enmity to religion, and his love of arbitrary power in the state. Had there been any regard to the constitutional laws of the kingdom, such a wretch as John Robinson would not have been permitted to assume such unlimitted power, and exercise such horrid cruelties. Many other circumstances of a similar nature are mentioned which fully justify these remarks, and exhibit the character of this Robinson as a person well calculated to act under such a monarch as Charles II.
At the close of this year an event happened in which Robinson was a principal agent, and which proved the severity which the king was disposed to manifest towards dissenters.
Mr. John James, the minister of a congregation of Sabbattarian Baptists, meeting in Bulstake Alley, Whitechapel, was interrupted while preaching. About three o’clock in the afternoon one Justice Chard, with Mr. Wood a Head-borough came into the meeting place, and Wood in the king’s name commanded him to be silent and come clown, having spoken treason against the king. Mr. James taking little notice of this address proceeded in his discourse, when Wood proceeding towards the pulpit again addressed him in the same manner, ordering him to come down, saying, if he did not he would pull him down. To which Mr. James replied, that he should not leave the pulpit unless force were employed. This was accordingly done, and Mr. James was taken before a Justice of the peace charged on the evidence of one Tipler, a journeyman pipe-maker, with having uttered treasonable words against the king. From the character of Tipler the Justice refused to commit Mr. James till he brought a neighbour with him to corroborate his testimony, when he was under the necessity of ordering him into custody.
The persons who were present at the meeting were all secured, and taken before John Robinson and three other Justices sitting at the half moon tavern by seven at a time. To each of them they tendered the oath of allegiance, and those who refused were sent to Newgate, both men and women, being guarded thither by peace officers.
These Justices afterwards entered the meeting-house where many of the congregation still were, and sitting down at the table with their clerk, Major Stanley sent for Mr. John James. While they were waiting for him, the Lieutenant of the tower read a paper which he pulled from his pocket, saying, he would read to them what doctrine was preached these that day; which was a charge drawn up from the accusations of Tipler. Addressing the persons present, John Robinson asked them, how they could hear such doctrines as those? To which they unanimously replied, “That they never beard such words, as they shall answer it before the Lord, and they durst not lie.”
When Mr. James was brought before them, John Robinson examined him, and amongst other questions he asked the following, viz. “Whether he had not been before him before this? And whether he had not been civilly used?” To which Mr. James replied, “yea, and he thanked him for his civility.” Then the Lieutenant asked him, “If he was not counselled to take heed in future?” He answered, “yea, and he bad taken it as far as he could with a good conscience.” Upon which Robinson told him he should stretch for it; and if he were not hanged, he would be hanged for him. Mr. James answered, He was not careful in that matter, and that they could do no more, than they should be suffered by the Lord to do. The Lieutenant told him he was not careful; for he had a mind to be hanged as some of his holy brethren that went before him. To which Mr. James said, he desired he would not speak so lightly. On Robinson saying something about the fifth kingdom, he asked Mr. James if that was his principle? Who said that he owned the fifth kingdom which was to come. Whereupon they laughed one upon another and said, “Now we have it from his own mouth.” They also charged him with having learned to sound a trumpet in order to join with Venner’s party. In reply to which he said that a friend of his who lodged in his house wishing to go to sea, and being required to learn to sound the trumpet, he had requested leave of him to learn in his house, but that he had never learned himself, neither had he been concerned in the late rising as he judged it to be a rash act,
On this his mittimus was made out, and he was committed to the charge of the soldiers to take him to Newgate. His mittimus was as follows: —

“To the keeper of the goal of Newgate, or his deputy; Middlesex.
“These are in the king’s majesty’s name to require you to receive into your custody, the body of John James, whom we send you herewith; being taken this present day at a conventicle or private meeting, in the parish of White-chapel; and there speaking in the presence of the people treasonable words against his majesty’s royal person. You shall therefore keep him close prisoner until further order; and this shall be your warrant. Given under our hands, this 19th day of October 1661.
JOHN ROBINSON, Lieut. of the Tower,

On the 14th of November Mr, James was brought before the Chief Justice Forster, Justice Mallet, Justice Twisden, and Justice Windham at the king’s bench, Westminster hall. He was informed that he stood indicted for compassing and imagining the death of the king. For endeavouring to levy war against the king. For endeavouring a change of the government. For saying that the king was a bloody tyrant, a bloody sucker, and blood thirsty man, and his nobles the same. That the king and his nobles had shed the blood of the saints at Charing Cross, and the blood of the covenanters in Scotland, To this he pleaded not guilty, neither in form nor matter; and when asked how he would be tried, he replied by the law of God; at which the lawyers made a great hiss.
He was then remanded to Newgate, and during the time betwixt this and his trial, he received on the 18th of November a letter from a person of note to advertise him there was such a jury of life and death impannelled to proceed upon him, as had not been for many years before, being all picked men, and most of them knights and gentlemen, and that if he did not except against them, or most of the chief of diem, he was a dead man.” When Mr. James was brought before them on November 19, the Judge exclaimed, Oh, oh, are you come? This is a specimen of the manner in which his trial was conducted. Those who are desirous may read it in the second volume of the State Trials. Suffice it to say, that Mr. James in the most solemn manner denied all the charges exhibited against him, especially his having extolled the late Protector, se far from that, said he, “I opposed him and suffered from him.” He concluded his defence by saying, though he should say but little for himself he would drop one word for the Lord, viz. “That the Lord. Jesus Christ was King of nations as well as King of saints; and that the government of kingdoms did of right belong to him.” To confirm this sentiment he quoted Revelation 11:15. “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Addressing the Jury, he quoted Isaiah 29:21. “That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.”
He was then remanded back to prison, and was brought up again on the 20th to receive sentence. The next day, Wednesday, his wife by the advice of some friends endeavoured to present a petition to the king; telling him of her husband’s innocency, and the character of the witnesses. Bernard Osburn, one of them, having been proved by four respectable persons to have said, “that he had sworn against Mr. James he knew not what.” In the evening as the king came out of the park, and entered the palace, Mrs. James presented him with a paper endorsed on the backside, The humble request of Elizabeth James. To whom the king replied, holding up his finger, Oh! Mr. James he is a sweet gentleman! and on her following him to get some further answer the doer as shut against her.
The next morning she came to the same place, and on the king’s entering the park, she intreated his majesty would answer her request. Who then replied, “He is a rogue, and shall be hanged!” One of the lords who was with him asked of whom he spire, to whom the king said, “Of John, James that rogue; he shall be hanged: yea he shall be hanged!” On this day he was brought to the bar to receive sentence, and was asked what he had to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him. He replied in the words of Jeremiah 26:14, 15.

“As for me, behold I am in your hand: do with me as it seemed, good, and meet unto you. But know ye for certain that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof.”

He also added, Psalm 16:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints:” and also Zechariah 2:8, “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of mine eye.” Sentence being passed Mr. James had only time to add, “Blessed be God, whom man hath condemned, God hath justified.”
On the 26th of November, he was executed at Tyburn, according to his tremendous sentence to be hanged, drawn, quartered, &c. These terrors do not appear to have alarmed him, a consciousness of uprightness and integrity preserved him. When some of his friends who had desired leave to accompany him came into the prison, he exclaimed, “Here come my bride men!” embracing them with the greatest joy. But said be, “Must not the sacrifice be bound?” One answered, “Yea, it must be bound with cords.” He rejoicing said, “So he had heard.”
When the keeper entered, he told him he was a welcome messenger, and bearing the noise of the multitude he said to a friend, “There will be by-and-by as many hallelujahs as shoutings of the people without.”
At the place of execution he obtained leave from the Sheriff to speak to the multitude. He began by denying a report that had been industriously circulated, that he was a Jesuit; declaring he was an Englishman, and had never been out of the land. That his parents were poor but pious people, and that his aged mother was still living. As to my principles, said he, “I do own the title of a baptized believer. I own the ordinances and appointments of Jesus Christ. I own all the principles in Hebrews 6:2.” And concluded by charging his friends who were present, “Not to forsake the assembling themselves together” for worship, according to their principles, whatever might be the consequence. Adding the charge of David to Solomon, 1 Chronicles 28:8.

"Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God; that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.”

He then addressed the young and old in a very solemn, impressive, and scriptural manner, concluding with, “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7.
When the executioner proceeded to do his office, he said, “The Lord receive your soul.” To which Mr. James replied, “I thank you.” Another said, “This is a happy day.” He answered, “I bless the Lord it is so.” One of his friends said, “The Lord make your passage easy.” He said,” I trust he will so.” He was then asked if he had any thing to say to the Sheriff? He replied, “No, but only thank him for his civility.” He then said aloud, lifting up his hands, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit,” and so finished his course. His quarters were taken back to Newgate, on the sledge which carried him to the gallows, and were afterwards placed on the city gates, and his head was set upon a pole opposite the meeting-house.
Crosby remarks on this affair, “If there was any undue combination against this poor man; if it was for some reason of state, rather than for any real guilt on his part; if his judgment and conscience rather than any just crime were the cause of his suffering, his blood must be innocent blood.

“Some remarkable things are taken notice of in the narrative, published after his death, as befalling those, who had been instruments in his sufferings, or had expressed a delight in them. But (adds Crosby) I chuse to pass them over in silence.”

This narrative published in the next year we have not been able to procure.
In the Heresiography of Ephraim Pagitt, published in 1662, there is a short account of this affair. This scurrilous writer, though he supposes him guilty of the charges made against him, yet acknowledges “he brought several of his own sect to justify his defence,” and says that “he thanked the sheriff for his civility and patience.”

Another design to oppress the dissenters was avowed in the year 1662, when a bill was introduced to enforce uniformity in religion, and to eject all ministers from the established church who could not declare unfeigned assent and consent to the articles of the church of England, and of every thing contained in the book of common prayer, and also that would not declare upon oath that it was not lawful on any pretence whatever to take arms against the king, &c. The consequence of this act, was, that upwards of two thousand eminently godly, learned, and useful ministers were obliged to leave their livings, and were exposed to many hardships and difficulties. This act passed, but Bishop Burnet observes, with no very great majority, and received the royal assent May 19, and was to take place from the 14th of August following.
Amongst these pious confessors and intrepid sufferers, were some of the Baptist denomination. In Palmer’s Non-conformist’s Memorial we meet with the names of several Baptists, and it is not improbable but some others were of this denomination, as it is well known that Calamy has not always mentioned their sentiments on this subject.

HENRY JESSEY, M. A. ejected from St. Georges, Southwark. WILLIAM DELL, M. A. from the living of Yeldon, In Bedfordshire.
FRANCIS BAMPFIELD, M. A. from the living of Sherborne, in Dorsetshire. THOMAS JENNINGS, from Brimsfeld, in Gloucestershire.
PAUL FREWEN, from Kempley, in the same county. JOSHUA HEAD, place of ejectment uncertain.
JOHN TOMBES, B.D. from Leominster, in Herefordshire. DANIEL DYKE, M. A. from Hadham, in Hertfordshire. RICHARD ADAMS, from Humberstone, in Leicestershire.
JEREMIAH MARSDEN, from Ardesly Chapel, near Wakefield, in Yorkshire. THOMAS HARDCASTLE, from Bramham, in Yorkshire.
ROBERT BROWNE, from Whitelady Aston, in Worcestershire. GABRIEL CAMELFORD, from Stavely Chapel, in Westmoreland. JOHN SKINNER, from Weston, in Herefordshire.
— BAKER, from Folkestone, in Kent.
JOHN GOSNOLD, of the Charter-house and Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. THOMAS QUARREL, from some place in Shropshire.
THOMAS EWINS, from St. Evens Church, Bristol. LAWRENCE WISE, from Chatham Dock, Kent. JOHN DONNE, from Pertenhall in Bedfordshire.
PAUL HOBSON, from the chaplainship of the College, Buckinghamshire. JOHN GIBBS, from Newport Pagnell.
JOHN SMITH, from Wanlip, Leicestershire. THOMAS ELLIS, from Lopham, Norfolk.
THOMAS PAXFORD, from Clapton, Gloucestershire.
ICHABOD CHAUNCEY, M. D. chaplain to Sir Edward Harley’s Regiment.

It is rather wonderful that any Baptists were found in the churches at this time, when it is considered that the first act which was passed after the restoration of the king contained an exception of all who had declared against infant baptism from being restored to their livings. It is probable also that amongst those who had been expelled to make room for the old encumbents, some were of this denomination. The Act of Uniformity completed the business, and after this we do not find that any person who rejected the baptism of infants continued in the establishment. The history of the persons mentioned will be given in to different counties where they laboured, in the biographical part of our work.
In this year, and we suppose immediately on the passing this act the king gave proof of his ardent attachment to the church of England, or at least of his willingness to fall in with the prelatical party, in devising means to crush all the different sects of the Nonconformists. This was by causing to be published “by his Majesty’s authority and under the great seal of England, for the due observation of them,” A new edition of the Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiastical; treated upon by the Bishop of London , President of the Convocation for the province of Canterbury, and the rest of the Bishops and Clergy of the said province. And agreed upon with the King’s Majesties license in their Synod begun at London, Anno. Dom. 1606. And in the year of the reign of our sovereign Lord James, by the grace of God, King of England, France , and Ireland the first , and of Scotland the thirty-seventh. London, Printed by A. Warren, jar Joshua Kirton, and are to be sold at the sign of the King’s Arms, in St. Pads Church-Yard, 1662.
We have been the more particular in giving the full title of this quarto pamphlet; because none of our historians, as far as we have been able to consult them, have taken any notice of it. The first edition of it is printed in Latin in Bishop Sparrow’s collections; but there is no notice taken of the new edition in 1662, though that work was printed in 1671, and published to vindicate the church of England, and to promote uniformity and peace in the same.
From a few of these articles the reader will judge what must have been the sufferings of the Nonconformist’s in every place where they were enforced. Some of these articles follow.
Art. II. Impugners of the King’s supremacy censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that the King’s majesty hath not the same authority in causes ecclesiastical, that the godly kings had amongst the Jews and Christian Emperors in the primitive church, or impeach in any part his regal supremacy in the said causes restored to the crown, and by the laws of this realm therein established, let him be excommunicated ipso facto, and not restored but only by the Arch-bishop, after his repentance and public revocation of those his wicked errors.”

Art. III. The church of England a true and Apostolical Church.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that the church of England by law established under the King’s Majesty, is not a true and apostolical church, teaching and maintaining the doctrine of the apostles, let him be excommunicated, ipso facto, and not restored but only by, &c “

Art. IV. Impugners of the public worship of God established in the church of England censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that the form of God’s worship in the church of England established by the law, and contained in the book of common prayer, and administration of sacraments, is a corrupt, superstitious, or unlawful worship of God, or containeth any thing in it that is repugnant to the scriptures, let him be excommunicated, ipso facto, &c.”

Art. V. Impugners of the Articles of Religion established in the church of England censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that any of the nine and thirty Articles agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops of both provinces, and the whole, Clergy in the convocation holden at London in the year of our Lord God, 1562, for the avoiding of diversities of opinions, and for the establishment of consent touching true religion, are in any part superstitious or erroneous, or such as he may not with a good conscience subscribe unto, let him be excommunicated, ipso facto, &c.”

Art. VI. Impugners of the Rites and Ceremonies established in the church of England censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that the rites and ceremonies of the church of England, by law established, are wicked, antichristian, or superstitious, or such as being commanded by lawful authority, men who are zealously and godly affected, may not with any good conscience approve them, use them, or as occasion requireth subscribe unto them, let him be excommunicated, ipso facto, &c.”

Art. VII. Impugners of the government of the church of England by Archbishops, Bishops, &c. censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that the government of the church of England under his Majesty, by Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Archdeacons, and the rest that bear office in the same, is antichristian, or repugnant to the word of God, let him be excommunicated, ipso facto, &c.”

Art. X., Maintainers of Schismaticks in the church of England censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that such ministers, as refuse to subscribe to the form and manner of God’s worship in the church of England prescribed in the communion book and their adherents, may truly take unto them the name of another church not established by law, and dare presume to publish that this their pretended church, hath so long time groaned under the burden of certain grievances imposed upon it, and upon the members thereof before mentioned, by the church of England, and the orders and constitutions therein by law established, let them be excommunicated and not restored, &c.”

Art. XI. Maintainers of conventicles censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm or maintain, that there are within this realm, other meetings, assemblies, or congregations of the king’s born subjects, than such as are by the laws of this land held and allowed, which may rightly challenge to themselves the name of true and lawful churches, let him be excommunicated, &c.”

Art. XII. Maintainers of Constitutions made in conventicles censured.

“Whosoever shall hereafter affirm, that it is lawful for any sort of ministers and lay persons, or either of them to join together, and make Rules, Orders, or Constitutions, in causes ecclesiastical, without the king’s authority, and shall submit themselves to be ruled and governed by them, let them be excommunicated, ipso facto, and not be restored until they repent, and publicly revoke those their wicked and Anabaptistical errors.”

These Canons are in number one hundred and forty one, and are thus concluded.

“WEE of our PRINCELY INCLINATION and Royall care, for the maintenance of the present Estate and Government of the Church of England by the laws of this our Realme, now setled and established, having dilligently, with great contentment and comfort, read and considered of all these their said Canons, Orders, Ordinances, and Constitutions agreed upon, as is before expressed; and finding the same such as We are persuaded will be very profitable not only to Our Clergy, but to the whole Church of this our Kingdom, and to all the true members’ of it, (if they be well observed.) Have therefore for Us, our Heirs and lawfull Successors, of our especial Grace, certaine knowledge, and meer motion given, and by these presents do give our Royall assent, according to the forme of the said Statute or Act of Parliament aforesaid, to all and every of the said Canons, Orders, Ordinances, and Constitutions, and to all, and every thing in them contained, as they are before written.
“And furthermore, We do not onely by our said Prerogative Royall, and Supream authority in causes ecclesiastical, ratify, confirm, and establish, by these our Letters Pattents, the said Canons, Orders, Ordinances, and Constitutions, and all, and every thing in them contained, as is aforesaid, but do likewise propound, publish, and straightly enjoin, and command by our said Authority, and by these our Letters Pattents, the same to be dilligently observed, executed, and equally kept by all our loving Subjects of this our Kingdom both within the province of Canterbury, and York, in all points wherein they do, or may concern every or any of them according to this Our will, and pleasure hereby signified and expressed: and that likewise for the better observation of them, every Minister by what name or title soever he be called, shall in the Parish Church or Chapell, where he hath charge, read all the said Canons, Orders, and Constitutions once every year upon some Sundayes; or Holy Dayes in the afternoon before divine Service, dividing the same in such sort, as that the one half may be read one day, and the other another day, the book of the said Canons to be provided at the charge of the Parish betwixt this and the feast of the Nativity of our Lord God next ensuing: Straightly charging and commanding all Arch-Bishops, Bishops, and all other that exercise any Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction within this realm, every man in his place to see, and procure (so much as in them lieth) all and every of the same Canons, Orders, Ordinances, and Constitutions to be in all points duely observed, not sparing to execute the Penaltyes in them severally mentioned, upon any that shall willingly or wilfully breake, or neglects to observe the same, as they tender the honour of God, the peace of the Church, Tranquility of the Kingdome, and their duties, and services to us, their KING, and Sovereign.
In Witnesse, &c.”

When it is recollected that the Canons which relate to the discipline and doctrines and Hierarchy of the church of England, had been by the government about twenty years before declared null and void with the greatest unanimity not a negative vote being found in both houses, and which occasioned such joy that there were bonfires, and ringing of bells all over the city; and also that the principles now censured had been universally propagated and acted upon during the whole of that time; some conception may be formed of the spirit by which this measure was promoted, and of the terrible consequences which would follow from it, either in making persons vile hypocrites through fear, or impoverished dependants through the fortitude which would lead them now to say, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to obey you rather than God, judge ye.”
They that are acquainted with the terrible consequences of an excommunication in the spiritual courts, must be sensible of the hardships put upon the Nonconformists by these Canons. Suspensions and deprivations ‘from their livings, were not now thought sufficient for the sin of Nonconformity; but the dissenters both clergy and laity, must be turned out of the congregation of the faithful; they must be made incapable of sueing for their lawful debts; they must be imprisoned for life by a Capeas, unless they make satisfaction to the church; and when they die they must not have christian burial. Lamentable was the condition of the dissenters at this time, and dreadful were the sufferings hundreds of them endured; by the operations of these Canons which his Majesty had enjoined on all his subjects; after he had read them, and diligently considered them , with great contentment and comfort. Some of these effects as experienced by the Baptists we shall proceed to narrate.
At Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire the persecution of dissenters was so violent in 1664, that two large houses were turned into prisons to make room for them, as the county gaol would not hold the numbers that were committed.
Their goods were confiscated, and their persecutors intended if possible to get the penalty of banishment or death inflicted upon them according to the 35th of Elizabeth.
Of these there were twelve persons, ten men and two women, all Baptists, who had been taken at their meeting in or near Aylesbury; and having been legally convicted of the same three months before, they were now brought before a bench of justices at their quarter sessions. They were then required either to conform to the church of England, and take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, or to abjure the realm as this law directed; and were assured that if they refused to do either of these, sentence of death should be passed upon them.
However, that there may be some show of clemency, they gave them till the afternoon to consider of it. Mr. Farrow one of the justices of that county who lived at Aylesbury, was the principal agent in this prosecution; and the better to carry on his malicious designs he was this day made their chairman. Several of the Justices left the bench being ashamed of these rigorous proceedings or afraid of the consequences of such severity. But Farrow and three or four more continued, and were resolved to push on the matter.
When the prisoners were again brought forth, they all declared, that they could neither conform to the church of England, nor abjure their native country nor relations, and therefore must throw themselves on the mercy of the court.
Upon this they were by virtue of the aforecited law, declared guilty of felony. Sentence of death was accordingly passed upon them, and they were remanded back to gaol till their execution. The men were Stephen Dagnal, minister; Ellit, a teacher; William Whitechurch, a glover, and a deacon of the congregation; Thomas Hill, a linen draper; William Welch, a tallow chandler; Thomas Monk, a farmer; Brundon, a shoe maker; and three More, whose nines, Crosby says, be could not obtain. The women were, Mary Jackman, a widow who had six children; and Ann Turner, spinster.

The sentence was no sooner passed than the officers were sent to their houses to seize on whatever of their effects could be found, which order was executed with great severity. The rest of the dissenters who lived in the town were much alarmed at these proceedings, expecting it would next come to their turn to be treated in the same manner. Brundon, one of the condemned persons, was prevailed upon by the tears and earnest entreaties of his wife, to make a recantation and take the oaths; but be presently found such horror and distress in his mind for what he had done as exceeded all his fears of death, or distress for his family. He therefore voluntarily returned to the prison again, and declared with the greatest signs of grief and trouble his repentance for what he had done; and there continued with his companions, resolving to die with them in defence of that cause he had so shamefully renounced.
Thomas Monk, son of one of the condemned persons, upon the passing of the sentence immediately rode to London, where he applied to Mr. William Kiffin, who had considerable influence at court, particularly with Chancellor Hyde. When he had related the whole matter to him, they went with great expedition to Hyde, and entreated him to lay the case before the king, which he readily did. The king seemed much surprised that any of his subjects should be put to death for their religion only, and enquired whether there was any law in force that would justify such proceedings. Being satisfied on this point, he promised his pardon, and gave orders to the lord chancellor accordingly. But considering that the form of passing a pardon would take some time, and that those who had so hastily passed sentence of death might be as hasty in executing it, they renewed’ their suit to his majesty that an immediate reprieve might be granted, which his majesty as graciously complied with; and it was given to Thomas Monk; who, made all possible haste with it to Aylesbury.
When he related his success at court, and produced his majesty’s reprieve, it was not more joyful to his friends than surprising to their persecutors, and put a stop in some measure to their violence. The condemned persons however were kept close prisoners till the next assizes, when the judge brought down his majesty’s pardon, and they were all set at liberty.
The influence which Mr. Kiffin had at court in all probability arose from his great property: it is certain his principles as a ‘Baptist did not recommend him. It is said that the king once condescended, when in want of money, to ask him a favour; this was, that he would lend him forty thousand pounds. Mr. Kiffin apologized for not having it in his power to lend his majesty so great a sum, but told the messenger that if it would be of any service, he would present him with ten thousand pounds, which sum was accepted; and Mr. Kiffin used afterwards to say that he had saved thirty thousand pounds by his liberality.

The attempt to crush the dissenters was pursued with rigour, and every means adopted to prevent the increase of their principles. For this purpose dragoons were sent into the different counties to suppress whatever meetings of dissenters they could find. In Buckinghamshire, the excellent Benjamin Reach felt the weight of their rude fury. Discovering a meeting where he was preaching, they came with great rage and violence upon the assembly, and swore they would kill the preacher. Accordingly he was seized, and four of the troopers declared their determination to trample him to, death with their horses. Having bound him, they laid him on the ground for this purpose, and had actually prepared themselves to accomplish this horrid design. But the officer discovering their intention, rode up to them just as they were going to spur their: horses to ride over him, and interposing his authority prevented them. He was then taken up and tied behind one of the troopers across his horse and carried to gaol, where he lay some time and suffered great hardships. Being a bold and zealous preacher, he was frequently seized and committed to prison, where he was sometimes bound, but often released upon bail.
In the year 1664 he wrote a little book which many of his friends wished him to publish for the use of their children. This request he complied with, and entitled it, The Child’s Instructor, or a New and Easy Primmer. He did not put his name to it, and procured a friend to write a recommendatory preface; from which it should seem that be apprehended it would expose him to some difficulties, as there were several things in it contrary to the doctrines and ceremonies of the church of England.
This book was no sooner printed, and some few of them sent down to him, than one Mr. Strafford, a justice of the peace for that county, was informed of it. He immediately took a constable with him, and went to the house of Mr. Keach, where they seized all the books they could find, and bound him to appear at the assizes to answer for his crime, in a recognizance of a hundred pounds himself, and two sureties of fifty pounds each.
The assizes commenced at Aylesbury, October the 8th, 1664, and Lord Chief Justice Hyde, just now mentioned, afterwards Lord Clarendon, presided as judge. The account of this trial will give a pretty correct View of his lordship’s character, and of the shameful prostitution of justice resorted to in order to deprive the subjects of their liberty; and to punish the nonconformists in those days of persecution.
Mr. Keach was called to the bar the first day in the afternoon. After some reflections upon his person and profession, the judge holding one of the primmers in his hand, said to him, Didn't you write this book Mr. Keach replied, that he did write the greatest part of it The judge then said with great indignation, What have you to do to take other men’s trades out of their hands?

I believe you can preach, as well as write books. Thus it is, to let you and such as you are to have the scriptures to wrest to your own destruction. In your book you have made a new creed. I have seen three creeds before, but never saw a fourth till you made one!
To this Mr. Keach answered, I have not made a treed, but a confession of my faith. What is a creed then? said the judge. Mr. Keach replied, your Lordship said that you had never seen but three creeds; but thousands of Christians have made a confession of their faith.
The judge speaking many things concerning baptism and the ministers of the gospel, Mr. Keach began to answer, but was prevented by the judge, who said, you shall not preach here, nor give the reasons of your claimable doctrine to seduce and infect the king’s subjects: these are not things for such as you to meddle with, nor to write books of divinity. I will try you for it before I sleep.
— He accordingly gave directions to the clerk to draw up the indictment; but though he spent much of his time in assisting the clerk, who was very diligent in preparing the bill, they could not get ready for trial till the next day.
While the indictment was drawing up, the witnesses were sworn, and bid to stand by the clerk till it was finished, and then go with it to the grand jury. During this interval the judge endeavoured to incense the jury against the prisoner, representing him as a base and dangerous fellow. I shall send you presently, said he, a bill against one that has taken upon him to write a new primmer for the instruction of your children; and if this be suffered, children by learning it will become such as he is, and therefore I hope you will do your duty.
The court being set the next day, the grand jury found a true bill. Mr. Keach being brought to the bar, the clerk said, Benjamin Keach, hear your charge. Thou art here indicted by the name of Benjamin Keach, of Winslow, in the county of Bucks, for that thou being a seditious, schismatic person, evily and maliciously disposed and disaffected to his majesty’s government and the government of the church of England, didst maliciously and wickedly on the fifth of May in the sixteenth year of the reign of our sovereign lord the king, write, print, and publish, or cause to be written, printed, and published, one seditious and venomous book entitled, The Child’s Instructor , or a New and Easy Primmer, wherein are contained by way of question and answer these damnable positions, contrary to the book of common prayer and the liturgy of the church of England; that is to say, in one place you have thus written: —
Q. Who are the right subjects of baptism?

A. Believers, or godly men and women, who make profession of their faith and repentance.

In another place you have maliciously and wickedly written these words: —

Q. How shall it go with the saints?

A. Very well: it is the day they have longed for. Then shall they hear the sentence, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you; and so shall they reign with Christ on the earth a thousand years, even on Mount Sion in the New Jerusalem; for there will Christ’s throne be, on which they must sit down with him.

Then follows this question with the answer in plain english words. —
Q. When shall the rest of the wicked and the fallen angels, which be the devils, be judged?

A. When the thousand years shall be expired: then shall all the rest of the dead be raised, and then shall be the last and general judgment: then shall all the rest of the dead and the devils be judged by Christ and his glorified saints; and they being arraigned and judged, the wicked shall be condemned, and cast with the angels into the lake of fire, there to he burned for ever and ever.

In another place you have wickedly and maliciously written these plain english words:—
Q. Why may not infants be received into the church now as they were under the law?

A. Because the fleshly seed is cast out. Though God under that dispensation did receive infants in a lineal way by generation; yet he that hath the key of David, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, hath shut up that way into the church, and opened the door of regeneration, receiving in none now but true believers.

Q. What is the case of infants?

A. Infants that die are members of the kingdom of glory, though they be not members of the visible church.

Q. Do they then that bring in infants in a lineal way by generation err from the way of truth?

A. Yea, they do for they make not God’s holy word their rule, but do presume to open a door that Christ hath shut, and none ought to open.

Also in another place thou hast wickedly, and maliciously composed a short confession of the Christian faith, in which thou hast affirmed this concerning the second person in the blessed Trinity, in these plain english words: — I also believe that he rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven above, and there now sitteth at the right hand of God the Father; and from thence he shall come again at the appointed time to reign personally on, the earth, and to be judge of the quick and the dead.
In another place thou hast wickedly and maliciously affirmed these things concerning true gospel ministers, in these plain english words following: — Christ hath not chosen the, wise and prudent men after the flesh, not great doctors and rabbies; not many mighty and noble, saith St. Paul, are called; but rather the poor and despised, even tradesmen and such like, as were Matthew, Peter, Andrew, Paul, and others. Christ’s true ministers have not their learning and teaching from men, or from universities, or from human schools; for human learning, arts and sciences, are not essential in order to the making of a true minister, but only the gift of God which cannot be bought with silver and gold. And also as they have freely received the gift of God, so they do freely administer: they do not preach for hire, for gain or filthy lucre. They are not like false teachers who look for gain from their quarter; who eat the fat and clothe themselves with the wool, and kill them that are fed. Those that put not into their mouths they prepare war against. Also they are not lords over God’s heritage: they rule them not by force nor cruelty, neither have they power to force and compel men to believe and obey their doctrine, but only persuade and entreat. This is the way of the gospel as Christ taught them. — Many other things bast thou seditiously, wickedly, and maliciously written in the said book, to the great displeasure of Almighty God, the scandal of the liturgy’ of the church of England, the disaffection of the king’s people to his majesty’s government, the dangers of the peace of this kingdom, to the evil example of others, and contrary to the statute in that case made and provided.
The indictment being read, the clerk said, how say you, Benjamin Keach? Are you guilty or not guilty? To this Mr. Keach replied, the indictment is very long I cannot remember half of it, nor have I been accustomed to plead to indictments. I desire to have a copy of it, and liberty to confer with council about it, in order to put in my exceptions; and then I shall plead to it.
The judge addressing Mr. Keach, said, It is your intention to delay your trial till the next assizes. No, my lord, said Mr. Keach: I have no design by this to delay my trial. The judge answered, I will not deny you what is your right, but you must first plead to the indictment, and afterwards you shall have a copy of it. Mr. Keach replied, I desire I may have a copy of it before I plead, in order to put in my exceptions against it.
Judge. You shall not have it before you plead, guilty or not guilty.

Keach. It is what has been granted to others.

Judge. You shall not have a copy of it first; and if you refuse to plead guilty or not guilty, I shall take it pro confesso, and give judgment against you accordingly.
When Keach saw that he was thus overruled by the judge, and that he was denied his rights as an Englishman, he pleaded not guilty.
Judge. Now you shall have a copy of your indictment, and I will give you an hour’s time to consider of it.

Keach. If I may have no longer time allowed me, I do not desire it.

Judge. I have something else to do than to wait upon you. You are not a person fit to go abroad till the next assizes, and you would think it hard if I should commit you to gaol till then. But because you shall not say but that you were offered fair, if you will find sufficient sureties for your appearance at the next assizes, and for your good behaviour till then you shall not be tried till then.
Mr. Keach knowing that his appearing at any dissenting meeting would be deemed a breach of his good behaviour, durst not accept of this proposal; and therefore said, I am willing to be tried now.
Judge. Go on then, in God’s name.
The jury were then called by their names, and sworn to well and truly try the traverse between the king and the prisoner at the bar.
The clerk read the indictment, and told them that he had pleaded not guilty; that their charge was to inquire whether he was guilty or not; and so the witnesses were called, whose names were Neal and Whitehall.
Neal swore that Justice Strafford sending for him, he waited on his worship, and was commanded to fetch his staff of authority and come again. That then they went to one Moody’s stall and asked for some primmers which he had; but he answered that he had none. From thence they went to Benjamin Keach’s house, where first they saw his wife, he himself being in an inner room. They asked her whether there were not some primmers in the house. She said there were, and about thirty were brought and delivered to them.
Justice Strafford also deposed, that going to the house of the prisoner, he found and seized the said primmers, and that the prisoner at the bar confessed before him that he wrote and composed the said book; that then a copy of the prisoner’s examination before the said deponent, signed with his own hand, was, produced and read: wherein was contained that the prisoner being asked whether he was the author or writer of the said book, answered, yes he was;and further declared that he delivered part of the copy to one Oviat, a printer, since dead, and that the rest of the copy he sent up by another hand, but that he knew not who printed it; that about forty of them were sent down to him, of which he had disposed of about twelve, and that the price was five pence each.
The judge then called for a common prayer book, and ordered one of the primmers to be given to the jury; commanding the clerk to read those sentences in the indictment that were taken out of the said book, that the jury might turn to them to see that the said positions were contained therein.
The first position, which affirms that “believers only are the right subjects of baptism,” being read; this, said the judge, is contrary to the book of common prayer, for that appoints infants to be baptized, as well as men and women. He then read several places wherein the baptizing of such is enjoined and vindicated.
The next position is that which affirms that “the saints shall reign with Christ a thousand years.” This, said the judge, is contrary to the creed in the book of common prayer, and is an old heresy which was cast out of the church a thousand years ago, and was likewise condemned by the Council of Constance about five hundred years since, till now this rascal hath revived it.
On reading that position in the indictment which denies “that infants are to be received into the church now as they were under the law,” the judge said, this also is contrary to the book of common prayer; which appoints infants to be received into the church, and directs the priest to say when he hath sprinkled the child, we receive this child into the congregation of Christ’s flock.
The next position being read, wherein it is affirmed that “infants who die are members of the kingdom of glory, though not of the visible church,” the judge said, this he speaks of infants in general; so that the child of a Turk is made equal to the child of a Christian. But our church hath determined otherwise; viz. that if an infant die after baptism, and before it hath actually sinned, it is saved, because original sin is washed away in baptism.
After this, the position in the indictment which was taken out of the confession of faith was read. This, said the judge, is contrary to our creed; for whereas this saith of Christ that

“he ascended into heaven above, and there now sitteth at the right hand of God the Father, and from thence he shall come again at the appointed time of the Father to reign personally on the earth, and to be the judge both of quick and dead;”

our creed saith only, from thence shall he come to judge both the quick and the dead. And as to that concerning gospel ministers, this also is contrary to the book of common prayer. Whereas the position in the indictment saith, that Christ hath not chosen great rabbies and doctors, but rather the poor and despised, and tradesmen; the book of common prayer does admit of such, namely, doctors and rabbies. He then read some passages concerning the qualifications of ministers, and their manner of consecration in proof of it. He afterwards said, Because Christ when he was on earth made choice of tradesmen to be his disciples, this fellow would have ministers to be such now; tailors, pedlars, and tinkers ; such fellows as he is. But it is otherwise now, as appears from the manner in which the church has appointed them to be chosen, ordained, and consecrated.
The judge having ended, the prisoner thought now he might have liberty to speak for himself, and accordingly began.

Mr. Keach. As to the doctrines —

Judge. You shall not speak any thing here, except to the matter of fact; that is to say, whether you wrote this book or not.

Keach. I desire liberty to speak to the particulars of my indictment, and answer those things that have —

Judge. You shall not be suffered to give the reasons of your doctrine here, to seduce the king’s subjects.

Keach. Is my religion so bad that I may not be allowed to speak?

Judge. I know your religion: you are a fifth-monarchy man, and you can preach, as well as write book and you would preach here if I would let you; but I shall take such order as you shall do no more mischief.
This threatening made Mr. Keach and some of his friends, who were unacquainted with the law of the case, fear that he intended to have him hanged.

Keach, I did not write all the book, for there is an epistle written to it by another hand; neither can it be proved that I wrote all that is put in the indictment.

Judge. It is all one, whether you wrote it yourself, or dictated to another that wrote it; but it appears by your examination under your own hand that you wrote it all.

Keach. Because I wrote the greater part of it, I was content to let it go with the word all in my examination before Justice Stratford; but I cannot in conscience say that I wrote it all, nor is it proved that I published it.

Judge. Yes, for Moody had six books of you.

Keach. I did neither sell them, nor deliver them to him.

Judge. He had them at your house, and it is not likely that he should take them without your consent.

Keach. I do not say that he had them without my consent.

Judge. It is all one, then.
Some few more words passed; but Mr. Keach not being permitted to answer all the particulars charged upon him, was content not to require more proof of his being the author of the book.
The judge then summed up the evidence, and gave his charge to the jury; wherein he endeavoured to incense them against the prisoner, as he had done before in his charge to the grand jury.
The jury having received their charge, withdrew, and staid for some hours. At length one of the bailiffs who attended them came and told the judge that the jury could not agree.
But, said the judge, they must agree. The bailiff replied, that they desired to know whether one of them might not speak to his worship about something whereof they were in doubt. Yes privately, said the judge; and ordered that one should come to him on the bench. When the officer had fetched one of them, the juryman was set upon the clerk’s table, and the judge and he whispered a great while; and it was observed that the judge having his hands upon his shoulders would frequently shake him as he spake to him.
Upon the person returning, the whole jury quickly came in; and being according to custom called over by their names, the clerk proceeded.
Clerk. How say you? Is Benjamin Keach guilty of the matter contained in the indictment against him, or not guilty?

Foreman. Guilty in part.

Clerk. Of what part?

Foreman. In the indictment he is charged with these words: When the thousand years shall be expired, then shall all the rest of the devils be raised: but in the book it is, “then shall the rest of the dead be raised.”

Clerk. Is he guilty of the indictment, that sentence excepted?
One of the jurymen said, I cannot in conscience find him guilty, because the words in the indictment and the book do not agree.

Judge. That is only through a mistake of the clerk, and in that one sentence only. You may find him guilty of all, that sentence excepted: but why did you come in before you were agreed?

Foreman. We thought we had been agreed.

Judge. You must go out again and agree. And as for you that say you cannot in conscience find him guilty, if you say so again without giving reason for it, I shall take an order with you.
Then the jury withdrew, and in a little time returned again and brought in this verdict; that he was guilty of the indictment, that sentence wherein devils is inserted instead of dead only excepted.
Mr. Keach was called to the bar, and the judge proceeded and passed sentence as follows.
Judge. Benjamin Keach, you are here convicted for writing, printing, and publishing a seditious and schismatical book, for which the court’s judgment is this, and the court doth award. That you shall go to gaol for a fortnight without bail or mainprize; and the next Saturday to stand upon the pillory at Aylesbury in the open market, from eleven o’clock till one, with a paper upon your head with this inscription: For writing, printing , and publishing a schismatical book , entitled, The Child’s Instructor or a New and Easy Primmer. And the next Thursday, to stand, in the same manner and for the same time, in the market at Winslow; and then your book shall be openly burnt before your face by the common hangman, in disgrace of you and your doctrine. And you shall forfeit to the king’s majesty the sum of twenty pounds, and shall remain in gaol until you find sureties for your good behaviour, and for your appearance at the next assizes; then to renounce your doctrines, and make such public submission as shall be enjoined you. Take him away, keeper!

Keach. I hope I shall never renounce those truths which I have written in that book.

Clerk. My lord, he says that he shall never repent. The judge making no answer to this, the goaler took him away.
It is unnecessary to make any remarks on the arbitrary manner in which this trial was conducted, and on the means by which the verdict was extorted. The common-prayer book was now the standard of truth, and was placed upon a level with the statute law of the kingdom. Surely none could have expected that a Protestant judge would have sentenced any person to such a punishment for such conduct. But “the wicked walk on every side when the vilest of men are exalted,” and therefore it was not difficult to procure a jury suited to such a purpose.

The attempts made to obtain a pardon, or a relaxation of this severe sentence, were ineffectual; and the sheriff took care that every thing should be punctually performed. He was accordingly kept close prisoner till the Saturday, and agreeably to his sentence was brought to the pillory at Aylesbury. Several of his religious friends and acquaintances accompanied him thither; and when they expressed their sorrow for his hard case, and the injustice of his sufferings, he said with a cheerful countenance, The cross is the way to the crown. His head and hands were no sooner fixed in the pillory, but he began to address himself to the spectators to this effect. — Good people, I am not ashamed to stand here this day, with this paper on my head. My Lord Jesus was not ashamed to suffer on the cross for me; and it is for his cause that I am made a gazing-stock. Take notice, it is not for any wickedness that I stand here; but for writing and publishing his truths, which the Spirit of the Lord hath revealed in the holy scriptures.
A clergyman who stood by could not forbear interrupting him, and said, It is for writing and publishing errors; and you may now see what your errors have brought you to.
Mr. Keach replied, Sir, can you prove them errors? But before the clergyman could return an answer, he was attacked by some of the people, who told him of his being “pulled drunk out of a ditch.” Another upbraided him with having been found “drunk under a haycock.” Upon this the people, turning their attention from the sufferer in the pillory, laughed at the drunken priest, insomuch that he hastened away with the utmost disgrace and shame.
After the noise of this was over, the prisoner began to speak again, saying, It is no new thing for the servants of the Lord to suffer and be made a gazing-stock; and you that are acquainted with the scriptures know that the way to the crown is by the cross. The apostle saith, “that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of heaven;” and Christ saith, “He that is ashamed of me and of my words, in an adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, before the Father, and before the holy angels.” But he was frequently interrupted by the goaler, who told him that he must not speak; and that if he would not be silent, he must force him to it. After he had stood some time silent, getting one of his hands at liberty, he pulled his bible out of his pocket, and held it up to the people; saying, take notice, that the things which I have written and published, and for which I stand here this day a spectacle to angels and to men, are all contained in this book, as I could prove out of the same, if I had opportunity.
The goaler again interrupted him, and with great anger enquired who gave him the book. Some said that his wife gave it him. The good woman stood near him all the time of his being in the pillory, and frequently spoke in vindication of the principles for which he suffered. But Mr. Keach said that he took it out of his pocket. The goaler then took it from him, and fastened up his hand again. It was impossible however to keep him from speaking, for he began again and spoke as follows.

“It seems that I cannot be suffered to speak to the cause for which I stand here; neither could I be suffered to speak the other day; but it will plead its own innocency, when the strongest of its opposers shall be ashamed. I do not speak this out of prejudice to any person, but do sincerely desire that the Lord would convert them and convince them of their errors, that their souls may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Good people, the concernment of souls is very great, so that Christ died for them; and truly a concernment for souls was that which moved me to write and publish those things for which I now suffer, and for which I could suffer far greater things than these. It concern you therefore to be very careful, otherwise it will be very sad with you at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, for we must all appear before his tribunal. Here he was again interrupted, and forced to be silent a considerable time; but at length he ventured to speak again. “I hope (said he) the Lord’s people will not be discouraged at my suffering. Oh, did you but experience the great love of God, and the excellencies that are in him, it would make you willing to go through any sufferings for his sake. And I do account this the greatest honour that ever the Lord was pleased to confer upon me.”

After this he was not able to speak much more, for the sheriff came in great rage, and said, if he would not be silent he should be gagged; and the officers were ordered to keep the people at a greater distance front him, though they declared they could not do it. After a long silence he ventured to speak again. “This said he is one yoke of Christ’s, which I experience is easy to me, and a burden which he doth make light.” Finding he could not be allowed to speak, he kept silence until the two hours were expired, except uttering this sentence: “Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” When the full time according to his sentence was ended, the under keeper lifted up the board of the pillory; and as soon as his head and hands were at liberty, he blessed God with a loud voice for his great goodness towards him!
On the Saturday following he stood in the same manner and for the same time at Winslow, the town where he lived, and had his hook burnt before him according to the sentence.
Crosby says he was not able to obtain any particulars of this good man’s behaviour at Winslow, and for the account here given he was indebted to a person who was present, and who wrote the relation on the spot. This person remarked several things which proved the malice of his persecutors; as that he stood in the pillory two hours to the minute, which was a more strict execution

of the sentence than he ever witnessed either in town or country. That others always bad their hands at liberty; but Mr. Keach’s were carefully kept in the holes almost all the time, which must have made his sufferings the more painful. Thus, said he, judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off, for truth is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter. He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey; and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
In this year 1664, an at was passed for suppressing “seditious conventicles.” The preamble sets forth that the sectaries under pretence of tender consciences, at their meetings had contrived insurrections; and the act declares the 35th of Elizabeth to be in full force, which condemns all persons refusing peremptorily to come to church, after conviction, to banishment, and in case of return, to death without benefit of clergy. It enacts further, that if any person above the age of sixteen, after July 1st 1664, shall be present at any meeting under colour or pretence of any exercise of religion in other manner than is allowed by the liturgy or practice of the church of England, where shall be five or more persons than the household, shall for the first offence, upon record made upon oath under the hand and seal of a justice of peace, suffer three months imprisonment, or pay a sum not exceeding five pounds; for the second offence, six months imprisonment, or ten pounds; and for the third offence, banishment to some of the American plantations for seven years.
This was a terrible scourge to the laity, put into the hands of a single magistrate without the verdict of a jury, the oath of the informer being deemed sufficient. Before this act took place, the people were courageous, and exhorted their ministers to preach till they went to prison; but when it came home to themselves, and they had been once in goal, they began to be cautious, and consulted among themselves how to avoid the edge of the law in the best manner they could. For this purpose their assemblies were frequently held at midnight, and in the most private places; yet not-withstanding all their caution, they were frequently disturbed: but it is remarkable that under all their hardships they never made the least resistance, but went quietly along with the soldiers or officers when they could not fly from them. The distress of so many families induced some to confine themselves within their own houses; some removed to the plantations; and others had recourse to occasional conformity, to avoid the penalty for not coming to church. The Independents, Baptists, and Quakers, declined the practice; for they said, if persecution was the mark of a false church, it must be absolutely wrong to join with one that was so notoriously guilty.
While these oppressive measures were pursued, and the nation in general was immersed in vice and irreligion, London was visited by the plague, which at that time is said to have been the most dreadful within the memory of man. It was preceded by an unusual drought: the meadows were parched and dried up like the highways, insomuch that there was no food for the cattle, which occasioned a murrain among them. The plague was so dreadful in the city and suburbs that eight or ten thousand died in a week. The richer inhabitants fled to the remoter counties; but the calamities of those who were left behind, and of the poorer sort are not to be described. Trade was at a full stand; all commerce between town and country was entirely cut off, and nobody would receive their wares. The country housekeepers and farmers durst not receive their city friends or relations till they had performed quarantine in the fields or out houses. If a stranger passed through the neighbourhood, they fled from him as from an enemy. In London the shops and houses were quite shut up, and many of them marked with a red cross and an inscription over the door, “Lord have mercy upon us!” Grass grew in the streets; and every night the bell-man went his rounds with a cart, crying, Bring out your dead! The number of those who died of the pestilence in London only, amounted to about one hundred thousand: how many died of it in other parts of the kingdom, where it also raged for nearly a year, cannot be ascertained.
The greatest part of the established clergy fled, and deserted their parishes at a time when their assistance was most wanted; but some of the ejected ministers ventured to preach in the vacant pulpits, imagining that so extraordinary a case would justify their disregard of the penal laws. The ministers who ventured on this undertaking were Mr. Thomas Vincent, Mr. Chester, Mr. Turner, Mr.
Grimes, Mr. Franklin, and others. The face of death, and the arrows that flew among the people in darkness and at noon-day, awakened both preachers and hearers. Many who were at public worship one day were thrown into their graves the next. The cry of great numbers was, what shall we do to he saved! Such an awful time England never before saw.
But it will amaze all posterity, says Neal, that in a time both of war and of the plague, and when the nonconformist ministers were hazarding their lives in the service of the poor distressed congregations of London, the prime minister, Lord Clarendon, and his creatures, instead of mourning for the sins of the nation and meditating a reformation of manners, should pour out all their vengeance upon the nonconformists in order to make their condition insufferable!
On October the 31st 1665, an act to restrain the Non-conformists from inhabiting corporations received the royal assent. This was called the Oxford or Five-mile Act, because it prohibited any minister from coming within five miles of any city or corporation, under very severe penalties, unless they would take the following oath.

“I, A. B. do solemnly declare, that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever, to take up arms against the king; and that I do abhor the traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against his person, or against those that are commissioned by him, in pursuance of such commission. And I do swear that I will not at any time to come endeavour the alteration of the government, either in church or state. So help me, God.”

The great body of nonconformist ministers refused this oath, choosing rather to leave their habitations, their relations and friends, and all visible support, than destroy the peace of their consciences. Those ministers who had some little estate or substance of their own, retired to some remote or obscure villages, or such little market towns as were not corporations, and more than five miles from the places where they had preached: but in many counties it was difficult to find such places of retirement, for either there were no houses untenanted, or they were annexed to farms which the minister would not occupy; or the people were afraid to admit them into their houses, lest they should be suspected as favourers of nonconformity.
The sufferings of the dissenters were incredibly great at this period; yet very few of the ministers conformed, and the body of the dissenters remained stedfast to their principles; and the church, says Mr. Baxter, gained neither reputation nor numbers.

“But as if the judgment of heaven (says Neal) upon this nation were not heavy enough, nor the legislature sufficiently severe, the bishops must now throw their weight into the scale. For in the very midst of the plague, July the 7th 1665, Archbishop Sheldon sent orders to the several bishops of his province to make a return of the names of all ejected nonconformist ministers, with their places of abode and manner of life; and the returns of the several bishops are still kept in the Lambeth library. The design of this scrutiny was to gird the laws closer upon the dissenters, and to know by what means they got their bread; and if this tender-hearted archbishop could have had his will, they must have starved, or gone into foreign countries for a livelihood.”

In addition to the terrible calamities of the war and plague, it pleased God this year to suffer the city of London to be laid in ashes by a dreadful conflagration, which began September the 26, 1666, in Pudding-lane, behind the place where the monument now stands. Within three or four days, thirteen thousand and two hundred dwelling houses were consumed, besides eighty-nine churches; among which was the cathedral of St. Paul’s, many public structures, schools, libraries, and stately edifices. Multitudes of people lost their estates, their goods and merchandize, and some few their lives. The King, the Duke of York, and many of the nobility were spectators of the desolation, till at length it ceased almost as wonderfully as it began.

The next year was memorable for the fall of the persecuting. Lord Clarendon, lord high chancellor of Great Britain, who had rendered himself obnoxious by his magisterial airs towards are king. He was impeached at the bar of the house of lords, in the name of all the commons of England, of high treason, for sundry arbitrary and tyrannical proceedings contrary to law, by which be had acquired a greater estate than could be honestly procured at such a time. The earl, not daring to abide the storm, withdrew to France — leaving a paper behind him in which he denied almost every article of the charge; but the parliament voted it scandalous, and ordered it to be burnt by the common hangman; and he was banished the king’s dominions for life. Thus the measure he meted to others was meted to him again. Little did he think, when he passed sentence on Benjamin Keach that in less than four years a sentence equally painful, and indeed far more so owing to its being just, would be passed on himself, and executed with as great rigour, and with as unrelenting severity.

Volume I
Volume II
Volume III
Volume IV



The Divine Right of Infant
Baptism Examined and Disproved


Chapter I
  A.D. 45 - 1180


Chapter II
  A.D. 1180 - 1547


Chapter III
  A.D. 1540 - 1602


Chapter IV
  A.D. 1602 - 1625


Chapter V
  A.D. 1625 - 1640


Chapter VI
  A.D. 1640 - 1653


Chapter VII
  A.D. 1653 - 1660


Chapter VIII
  A.D. 1660 - 1667


Chapter IX
  A.D. 1667 - 1685


Chapter X
  A.D. 1685 - 1700





An Historical Sketch of the English Baptists
   William Cathcart





The Reformed Reader Home Page 

Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved