Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Matthew Ellistone

Dale again
Matthew Ellistone was probably a native of this town, where the family had long resided. He lived here in 1646, and on the 3rd of September in that year was appointed by an ordinance of the Lords to Stamford Rivers, in the stead of Dr John Meredith, who had been deprived the 6th of May, 1643. On his ejection, he returned to Coggeshall and lived at the Grange, where he had licence to hold a meeting for worship in 1672. He was a Presbyterian.
"The notes of the sermon which was intended to have been preached by Mr. Elliston, at the Burial of old John Picknet at Kelvedon, Sept. 6, 1675. But he being then hindered, he preached it the Sunday after, being the 12th September, 1675.
"Text—Phil. i. 15. You find the Apostle in a straite at the penning of this text; and I was in a straite; straites of time as to my sermon and meditations: and some of you know I was in a straite when it was intended to be delivered, by reason of an unkind and unchristian opposition. That which was then hindered is by relations desired to be the discourse of the day. — Bufton's MSS.
In 1677 he is mentioned as Matthew Ellistone of Little Coggeshall, clerk, in connection with Isaac Ellistone of the same place, probably his brother, and lived there until his death.

"The notes of the sermon preached at the funeral of my cousin, Isaac Ellistone's wife, by Mr. Burwell, Nov. 13, 1674."
"The notes, etc. of my cousin, Mr. Isaac Elliston, hy Mr. Burwell, April 3, 1678."
"1678, 5th Oct. — My cousin Sam.Sparhawke's wife was buried. She was old Mr. Burwell's daughter, Minister."— [Probably Mr. Jeremy Bubwell, ejected at Hertford.] — Bufton's MSS.
"1693, May 3.— Buried Matthew Ellistone." — Markshall Reg

Thomas Lowrey, Coggeshall

The Woolpack Inn, Coggeshall

Dale also writes about Thomas Lowrey

Thomas Lowry was a Scotchman. He succeeded Mr. Meighen, who was sequestered at Great Braxted, and afterwards went to Harborough in Leicestershire, (inducted Feb. 24, 1649,) and received a moiety of Whitworth rectory to supplement his salary, which was very small. He declined to be lecturer at Maldon, to which he had been appointed June 12, 1649. On his ejection, he came to reside at Coggeshall.* He preached in his own house.
An extract has been given from his funeral sermon for Mr Sames. He preached another at the funeral of Mrs Brockwell, at the close of which he said:—
"Now this woman whose funeral we solemnize was in my apprehension a pious, prudent, profitable, sober and peaceable woman. If she was not so good, and so pious and prudent as she did show for, you that are without a fault throw the first stone at her. Though her life might be somewhat obscure and reserved, yet I cannot but think 'the root of the matter' was in her. Then whatsoever things are honest, and lovely, and of good report, that were in her, let us do, and the God of peace shall be with us."
His own funeral sermon was preached by Mr. Gouge, April 2, 1681 :—

Text — Psalm xci. 16. I have read concerning a king that in the bequeathments of his will he made a deed of gift of all from the heavens to the centre of the earth. Such is the riches of God and the infiniteness of his love, that unto his servants he gives all from the centre of the earth to the centre of the heavens; he gives them what is sufficient upon earth, and what is saving in heaven, he gives them throne blessings and foot-stool blessings; and so you find the largeness of God's heart to his people, both, in upper and nether springs, in eternal and temporal distributions of love, an assurance of which we have in these words, 'With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.' Observe, First, Life is one of the primest flowers that grows in nature's garden. Secondly, It is God that is the fountain and spring of life. Thirdly, Length of life, and satisfaction with it, is a further blessing which God bestows upon his godly people ....
Although the departure of our reverend friend and brother ought to be matter of greater sorrow than I see among you; yet God honoured him with a double crown, a crown of long life on earth, and I question not but with a crown of salvation in heaven .... 
God did satisfy him with life, by the life of grace and taking him up into his love; and God did afford him a competency of outward things to the last. This is life, when a man has his name written among the living in Jerusalem. Let churches be reviled and contemned, yet they are the Jerusalem of God; and to be enrolled a true member in a true church is a glory next to the glory of heaven. Thus our friend in his last sickness, upon some discourse of his hopes, gave that for one ground among many others, 'Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth.' This servant of God was one that laboured much among you; but what is there of his labours to be seen? You have had able ministers among you; there has been much seed sown among you; but whore is the harvest? If ever you would honour any minister, honour him by receiving his labours into your hearts and lives. God hath ' watered' you with wine, yea, with the blood of many of his servants; but if this blood be found amongst an unprofitable people, it will be dreadful for you at last. "Ye that remain, children of the deceased servant of God, remember his counsels and example, and do not wound him now he is dead. Let it not be his reproach afterwards, that any of you should prove a wicked son or an ungodly daughter ..... So let us live, that God may satisfy us with long life for evermore." — Bufton's MSS.

* "1661, May 28.— Obadiah, Sonne of Tho. and Bridgett Lowrye, vicarii. 
"1662, Sep. 28.— Robert, Sonne of Thos. Lowrye, vicarii."— Reg. Bap.

John Sames, Coggeshall

Dale continues his annals by talking about John Sames one of the ejected ministers, already mentioned by Dale earlier on. He quotes Palmer in a footnote saying of Sames
After the loss of his living he and some of his people went to Church, but others of them not being satisfied to do so, and the minister at the same time reproaching them in public for not being present in time of divine service, he desisted and set up a separate meeting, and died pastor of a gathered church there. He was a man of good learning and valuable ministerial abilities, but melancholy to an excess.
With that footnote he adds
1656, July 2.— (Born) Deborah, daughter of John and Anne Sames, vicar. "
1672, Dec. 16.— (Buried) Mr. John Sames."—Par. Reg.
1689, Nov. 29.— I first heard old Mrs. Sames was lately dead."— Bufton's Diary.

Dale continues
Most of those who formed the congregational church of which he was previously pastor left the Parish Church, and met together elsewhere, as circumstances permitted, and were ministered to by Mr Sames, Mr Lowry, [more on him later] and others. He died soon after the Indulgence was granted, and his funeral sermon was preached by Mr Lowry.
"The notes of ye sermon preached at ye funerall of Mr John Sames, by Mr. Lourey, Dec. 16,1672. "Text — Isaiah lvii. 1-2. We have been burying the greatest riches of the town, the jewel of the town; but we do not know whether ever we shall outlive the following storm of judgments, to regain such a pearl again. It is the great sin of a people, that when the righteous are removed by death they think they have done their last duty; but their last duty is to sit down and consider their loss, and what will be the sad consequences of such a dispensation We must not be troubled upon the personal account of this man, for he is gone to rest and peace, from all the troubles of this world. Death to him is gain. . . So that we are not to lay to heart his loss, but our own loss. Such as sat under his ministry and were refreshed by his doctrine, should mourn and lay it to heart; and the town should lay it to heart; for he was the salt as it were of the town, and the light of the town. He shined among you in his doctrine and conversation. Some men's death is but a cipher, and a hundred ciphers signify nothing; but the death of some is as a figure, and a figure of 1 and three ciphers stand for a thousand. He was a messenger of a thousand, and ought to be laid to heart more than the death of a hundred or thousand wicked persons. . . . . . Some men are not at all affected with such a dispensation as this. They may persecute the righteous when they are alive; but when they die, they lay them in their graves, and hide them in the dust, and forget them, and their hearts are hardened it may be against their widows or children. A righteous man is excellent; but they are willing to have him buried out of sight. They do not see that a righteous minister in a place is the greatest advantage: nor foresee that such a hedge or fence is taken away that the judgment of God may take hold of them.
"But yet there are gracious souls that do see the feet of the righteous servants of God to be beautiful: they open their hearts and their doors to them: they see God in such messengers, and when they are removed they see that it is an irreparable loss, except God make it up. God will take care of such a poor flock, though they be a flock of slaughter. And though their shepherd is gone, yet God will provide them another. Is there no more in the world? Yes: but you must go to God for one by prayer. Those that are sorrowful to see so many congregations without a soul-saving ministry, the Lord has made a promise to comfort them; as in the third of Zephany, 12-17 Now doubtless this friend which we have been burying was a righteous man. I could not only judge him to be righteous, but eminently righteous. He had a rich propriety in God and Christ, and he had a gospel spirit in his prayers and preaching. He was spiritual in his worship and spiritual in his conversation, and he had that wisdom from above that made him pure and peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated: his wisdom did not carry him forth to strife, envy or contention. Again, he was of a plain spirit; he had a plain honest heart. And verily he was profitable to old, to young, to this company and that company, and he was communicative of any good he had. He did not handle the word of God in craftiness. He was patient: and of a free and public spirit. He was tender-hearted to his people, and to all; and he had a spirit of government in his family, and walked conscientiously. How careful was he! He ordered his family, and therefore was the more fit to order the church.
"Therefore our loss is great, now such a righteous man is taken away. You that are sinners have a great loss. He warned you of Hell, and of being drowned in the world. You that were his church have a great loss. He carried you in his warm bosom. Christ make it up to you. You young mm have had a great loss. He was kind to young men, and tender of their souls. The Lord make up our loss. And let us all endeavour to be righteous men and women; and then God will either take us from a day of trouble, or hide us in a day of trouble. And the Lord grant that we may be truly affected and humbled under this dispensation." — Bufton's MSS.

Coggeshall, Essex

St Peter ad vincula, Coggeshall, Essex
In his 19th century  Annals of Coggeshall the Congregationalist minister Bryan Dale has a chapter on Nonconformity which begins with a section on Ejected Ministers. He introduces it saying

Whenever laws were ordained contrary to conscience and the word of God, Nonconformity became a necessity for those who would obey God rather than man. It existed accordingly where the least scope was allowed for freedom of thought; and every attempt to bring the laws of the state into harmony with the individual conscience, and to silence its voice, alike failed.
During the twenty years which preceded 1662 there were placed in the parish churches men, of whom the least that can be said is that they were faithful pastors and able preachers. All of them were ultra-protestant in doctrine; many were in favor of Presbyterianism or a modified Episcopacy; and many were Independents. Charles II. was restored under most solemn engagements "that no man should be molested for his religion;" but as soon as the Restoration was effected all these were put aside.
First of all (1660) three hundred ministers were ejected from their livings to make room for the restoration of such as had been sequestered, and without regard to the character or competency of the latter. Then all the objections urged against the re-establishment of unmodified Episcopal authority and the Book of Common Prayer, were overruled, and an Act was passed, which required each minister who had not been ordained by Episcopal hands to be re-ordained, and to declare publicly his unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer, as now set forth,* etc.; and on neglect or refusal pronouncing him ipso facto deprived of all his spiritual promotions. Unable, without disregarding the supreme claims of conscience, to comply with such requirements, above two thousand ministers** ceased to minister in the Established Church, from Bartholomew Day, 24th August, 1662. Another shade was thus added to the previous darkness of this day,*** by the privation and suffering into which these men were driven. The Conventicle Act was afterwards passed, forbidding more than five persons besides the family to meet for religious worship, under severest penalties. About this time the plague visited this country, and carried off great numbers of people in this neighbourhood. It does not appear to have been severe in this town, if it prevailed at all. At Braintree, on the contrary, 600 persons died within a short period; and in the vestry of that parish a memorial on parchment, containing the names of charitable contributors towards the distress, mentions
"The Inhabitants of Coggeshall — £35."
Several of the ejected ministers ventured into vacated pulpits, to preach to the excited people. The Five-Mile Act, however, forbade them to come within five miles of any place where they had previously ministered, or of any borough or corporate town. Great numbers of Nonconformists were fined and imprisoned; but meetings were secretly held. When the Conventicle Act was revived in 1669, enquiries were sent to every parish concerning such meetings; and the returns, partial and imperfect, are preserved at Lambeth.
"Coggeshall. Hard to be suppressed. (Ministers) Mr. Sammes. Mr. Lowry."
The next entry is:—
"Wethersfield. Mr. Cole, now in Chelmsford Goal."
In 1672 Charles II issued his Declaration of Indulgence, and above 3,000 licences for religious worship were taken out.
"License to John Sammes, to be a congregational teacher in the house of John Croe at Coggeshall.—1st May 1672."
"License to Thomas Lowry, to be a congregational teacher in his house at Coggeshall, in Essex."
"The house of Thomas Lowry in Coggeshall to be a Meeting House."
"The house of Matthew Ellistone at the Grange in Little Coggeshall to Matthew Ellistone.—13th May."
"William Grove, in his house at Coggeshall, licensed to he a congregational teacher.—May, 1672."
"Thomas Millaway, of Coggeshall, Essex, licensed to be a general congregational teacher.—22nd July, 1672."
The Nonconformists in this place were too numerous to meet in one spot. The Test and Corporation Acts immediately followed the Indulgence; afterwards came other persecutions. It does not appear, however, that in this town, beyond having their assemblies broken up, the Nonconformists suffered greatly; for the magistrates, and others upon whom the execution of the laws devolved, were themselves of the same mind as the offenders. The attempt of James II to bring back the country to Roman Catholicism, led to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and the Act of Toleration: but the Act of Uniformity and other laws against Nonconformists were still continued.

* The alterations made were of the following nature:— The Book of Bell and the Dragon inserted in the Calendar — the words "rebellion and schism" in the Litany —" Priest" and "Deacon" substituted for "Minister" — Absolution ordered to be pronounced by the priest alone — kneeling at the Lord's supper — Charles styled "our most religious King." The Nonconformists, many of whom were in favor of a Liturgy, had many objections to the prescribed forms. Among other things they said, "We cannot in faith say that every child that is baptized is regenerated by God's holy spirit." "The words of the burial service cannot in truth be said of persons living and dying in open and notorious sins. These words may harden the wicked and are inconsistent with the largest rational charity."
** William Rastrick, in a MS. Index, (date 1734) in a library at Lynn, gives 2257 names.
*** The massacre of 10,000 French Protestants in 1572.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Richard Flavel

Richard Flavel was the father of the famous John Flavel and his brother Phineas, also a Gospel Minister. Described as "a painful and eminent minister" he first ministered at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, then at Hasler in Gloucesterhsire before moving to Willersey, Gloucestershire, in the same county, where he continued until 1660. At the Restoration he was put out of the church because it was a sequestered living, and the previous incumbent was still alive:
His main concern was to find a pace of ministry. He is described as "a person of such extraordinary piety" that those who knew him said "they never heard one vain word drop from his mouth."
A little before 1662 and being near Totness, Devon, he preached from Hosea 7:9 The Days of Visitation arc come, the Days of Recompence are come, Israel shall know it. His application was so close that it offended some and occasioned his .being carried before some JPs but they could not reach him and so he was discharged.
He afterwards left the county and his son's house, where he had retired and went to London, where he continued in a faithful and acceptable discharge of his ministerial duties until the time of the plague in 1665 when he was arrested and imprisoned.
He was at the house of a Mr Blake in Covent Garden, where some were gathered for worship. While he was in prayer, a party of soldiers broke in on them with swords drawn, and demanded the arrest of the preacher, threatening some and flattering others in order to discover him, but in vain.
Some of them threw a coloured cloak over him, and in this disguise he was, together with his hearers, carried to Whitehall. They were all sent to Newgate prison, which was so disease ridden that Flavel and his wife became seriously ill.
Although they were bailed shortly after they subsequently died. It is said that their son John was given an intimation of their death in a dream.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Lawrence on Thomas Goodwin

In his 2002 thesis Transmission and Transformation on Thomas Goodwin and the Puritan Project 1600-1704, TM Lawrence writes

Men who had been trained to preach and teach, men who had spent a lifetime developing the rhetorical tools necessary to persuade a nation to godliness, were by this act forbidden to do the very thing for which they lived. Adding injury to insult, the harsh sanctions of the Clarendon Code were soon enacted to enforce their silence. Cut off from both public life and public worship, Goodwin did not simply withdraw to the tranquil world of the pastor’s study. Rather, he was forced into the quietly furtive life of the nonconformist minister, managing his affairs in order to avoid confrontation with the authorities.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Bunhill Fields William Jenkyn 1613-1685

The massive stone tomb of William Jenkyn will readily catch the visitor's eye, as it lies only a little to the southeast of Thomas Goodwin's. The original inscription on this tomb was in Latin, but was replaced by an English one, now undecipherable, which was as follows: —
"Sacred to the remains of William Jenkyn, Minister of the Gospel, who during the heavy storms of the Church was imprisoned in Newgate. Died a martyr there in the 72nd year of his age and the 52nd of his Ministry, 1684."
This "martyr of Jesus" was born at Sudbury, Suffolk, in the year 1612, and was blessed with godly parents. That his father was a good man is clear, for he had already sacrificed all prospects of wealth and honour rather than yield obedience to laws, rites and doctrines which he deemed unscriptural. Indeed, so exceedingly enraged was his own father at his turning from the path which led to the highest positions in the Church of England, that he disinherited him. This cruel action of William Jenkyn's grand-father, however, had no effect, for his father became the minister at Sudbury, where God was pleased to smile upon his labours. The mother of Jenkyn was a grand-daughter of noble John Rogers, who was burned to death in the reign of that poor misguided but cruel daughter of Rome known as "Bloody Mary." When William was still quite young his father died, and his mother somewhat reluctantly agreed to trust him to the care of his paternal grandfather, who was willing to educate him and to train him as a gentleman. After the lad had been with his grandfather for a few years, fearing that the godless habits of those with whom he lived would have an ill effect upon him, his mother, like a wise woman, took "William under her own care, and with her second husband trained him up after a godly manner. In 1626 arrangements were made for him to go into residence at Cambridge, the College chosen being that of St. John's, and his tutor was Anthony Burgess, who found him an apt pupil. Indeed, he made such progress in his studies that his fame spread abroad, but best of all his mind was exercised concerning his spiritual standing. His walk, conversation, and conduct alike proclaimed him to be a godly character, and he was mercifully preserved from falling into those outward sins of dissipation and vice which ruin so many young men. Having taken his MA degree, he accepted a lectureship at St Nicholas Acon, London, but soon after moved to Hythe in Essex, where he preached to a small congregation.
A number of his friends, being desirous of sitting under his ministry, persuaded him in 1641 to return to the Metropolis, where he became vicar of Christ Church, Newgate, and afterwards he was also appointed lecturer of St. Anne's, Blackfriars. He laboured with much earnestness and success, but his political views brought him into trouble at the overthrow of the Monarchy. So thankful were the people at being freed from the hateful yoke of the Stuarts, that Parliament appointed special thanksgiving services, but Jenkyn, whilst a stalwart Puritan, refused to take part in these. As a consequence he was banished from London, suspended from his ministerial office, and his benefices were sequestrated. He removed to Billericay, in Essex, for some six months ; then returned to London, only to be sent to the Tower for taking some little part in a foolish plot. On the advice of friends he afterward petitioned Parliament for his release, although it was a difficult matter for those interested in him to obtain his signature to the document. It is pleasing to relate that it was resolved to pardon Jenkyn "both for life and estate," and he was thus free not only to return to his home, but also to his ministry. Showing a very magnanimous spirit he refused to eject the Mr. Feak who had been appointed to Christ Church, but an early morning lectureship was arranged, and a large subscription was raised for this purpose. He also recommenced his lectures at Blackfriars, and on the death of Dr. Gouge he was chosen rector. When afterwards Mr. Feak was dismissed by the Government, Jenkyn was reappointed by the Governors of Bartholomew's Hospital, and thus once again he became vicar of Christ Church. Each Lord's Day he preached morning and evening to large auditories, for in addition to his parishioners, people flocked from all parts to listen to this prince of preachers. He possessed very considerable abilities, and was called by Baxter, **that elegant and sententious preacher." When the deceived and foolish people made another Stuart, Charles the Second, King of England, Jenkyn's troubles began again.
On Tuesday, January 2nd, 1661, he was compelled to appear before a special council, where he " was reproved for not praying for the King." When afterwards the Uniformity and Oxford Acts in 1662 and 1665 were passed, Jenkyn could not take the oaths that were required; and once again he sacrificed his living, retiring to Langley in Hertfordshire, where he preached to a few friends in private. When the King issued a Declaration of Indulgence in 1671, he returned to London, and a chapel was erected for him in Jewin Street, where once again great numbers of people sat under his ministry. The Indulgence was not confirmed by Parliament, and was withdrawn ; but although not immediately, Jenkyn's sorest trial was fast approaching. As was only to be expected, Jenkyn declined to conform, and from that time he was '* in dangers oft," for although the King decreed, this man and hundreds of others refused to have their voices silenced, and continued to preach under the most adverse circumstances. Meetings were held in secrecy as often as possible until September 2nd, 1684, when he was apprehended by soldiers, who broke in upon the numerous company which had met for prayer. With the exception of Jenkyn, all the ministers, amongst whom were Reynolds and Flavel, escaped, the latter stating that it was a piece of foolish vanity on a lady's part, combined with an act of politeness by the famous preacher, that cost him his liberty. In the rush for safety Jenkyn stood aside to allow this lady to pass before him, and her long train only too effectually prevented his hastening down the stairs and reaching a place of safety. The officers were delighted at their capture, and treated the aged and venerable servant of God in as cruel and rude a manner as possible, whilst the two magistrates, who were mere tools of the Court, were exceedingly violent and unjust. According to the law, by the payment of £40, the offender could obtain his release, but these creatures set all order at defiance, and committed the preacher, now 71 years of age, to Newgate Prison, where most severe restrictions were imposed. What mattered it that this much loved and highly respected man had suffered greatly for the Royalist cause ? What cared his persecutors that the foul air and stench of Newgate would surely poison him ? What anxiety did the statement of Jenkyn's physician that "his life was in danger from close confinement " cause the evil king and his counsellors ? What effect had all the pleadings of his friends and petitions of his followers ? Answers to these questions are found in the regulations by which Jenkyn was bound. He was not allowed to pray with anyone—not even his daughter. He was never permitted to leave the prison, although full security was offered, and neither was he granted the ordinary rights of a prisoner. It is not to be wondered that his physical health soon began to fail, although as his natural strength decayed his spiritual powers seemed to increase. On one occasion he exclaimed to some of his friends, " What a vast difference is there between this and my first imprisonment ! Then I was full of doubts and fears, of grief and anguish; and well I might, for going out of God's way and my own calling to meddle with things that did not belong to me. But now being found in the way of my duty, in my Master's business, though I suffer even to bonds, yet I am comforted beyond measure. The Lord sheds His love abroad in my heart ; I feel it ; I have the assurance of it." Some of his loving hearers giving way to tears, he exclaimed, "Why weep ye for me? Christ lives; He is my Friend ; a Friend born for adversity; a Friend that never dies. Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." On January 19th, 1684, after some four months' confinement, Jenkyn exchanged a prison cell for a heavenly mansion. In the former he suffered privation, persecution, hunger, thirst, and a thousand indignities, but in heaven all these things were done. The prison doors were kept securely fastened, but it is recorded of the Celestial City, " The gates of it shall not be shut at all by day ; for there shall be no night there."
For fifty years he had been a minister of the Gospel upon the earth, faithfully rebuking sin and setting forth Christ as the one hope of a sinner and the only way to the Father, but now he "sees Him as He is," and is joining in the song of the redeemed from among men.
It was not long ere the news of his death reached the court, and one courtier was bold enough to say to the King, "May it please your majesty, Jenkyn has got his liberty." With surprise the monarch replied, "Aye, who gave it to him ?" "A greater than your Majesty, the King of kings," was the explanation, and even so callous and perfidious a man was for once silent.
To Bunhill Fields the mortal remains of Jenkyn were taken, "his corpse being attended by at least one hundred and fifty coaches," and were there laid to rest. He was undoubtedly a martyr, for in Newgate, as he stated, "a man might be as effectually murdered as at Tyburn;" and his daughter boldly gave mourning rings with the inscription, "Mr. William Jenkyn murdered in Newgate." As a politician Jenkyn is not easily understood, for he seemed to change his views quickly and often, but this compared with eternal matters is of small moment.
His great work is an exposition upon the Epistle of Jude, which was preached in Christ Church. A revised and corrected edition was published in 1839, the editor being Mr. James Sherman, who was then the minister of the Surrey Chapel.
The extract given is from Jenkyn's sermon on the afternoon of August 17th, 1662, before he was ejected. The text was Exodus iii. 2-5.
"Lastly, to name no more, labour to preserve the holiness of God's true institutions, those things which are of divine consecration. What is human consecration without divine institution? The sabbath day is of divine institution, labour to keep it holy ; this is a holy day indeed, and this labour to keep your families from profaning' of ; but for other holy days, and holy things, they are much alike for holiness; the Lord's day is a holy day indeed, and for shame do not let your children gad abroad on this day. Truly I do verily believe, that though here be a great company of people in the congregation, yet they are but a handful in comparison of what are drinking in ale-houses, and walking in the fields, that one can hardly get home to their house for the crowd of the people that are going thither. For shame let not this be told in Gath, nor published in Askelon. What ! shall we stand up for the holiness of places, and yet oppose the holiness of the Lord's day, which God hath enjoined and instituted ? Oh! that the magistrates of London - oh! that England's king - oh! that England's Parliament would do something for the reformation of this, to oppose wickedness and profaneness which will otherwise bring upon us the judgements of Sodom and Gomorrah, and make us guilty and worthy of a thousand punishments. And labour by prayer in your families to overcome that flood of profaneness, which you cannot by your strength prevent. And then for the Lord's message and Word, that is a holy thing, and therefore love His messengers : the messengers of God delivering His message with fear and reverence, you are to hear them with the same fear, reverence, and resolution to be holy, as if Christ were present. And for the Word of God, it is not enough for you to have a choice sentence written upon the walls of your churches, but let God's law be written in your hearts and consciences, and practised in your lives, that all the world may see that you live as men dedicated to the true God, in all the duties of His ways and obedience. Many of these things might have been enlarged. What I have given you with the right hand, I pray you Christians, do not take with the left ; for if you do, you will make yourselves guilty of a double sin. First, because you do not obey the truth you hear. And secondly, for putting a wrong construction upon it. But I have better hopes of you, my beloved hearers, and hope that the Lord will be better unto your souls than His ministers, than His Word, or any thing else can be. God bless you and His ordinances, and discover His mind and will at this time to you."

Friday, 15 September 2017

Bunhill Fields Thankful Owen 1620-1681

(Same Tomb as Goodwin.)
Translation of Latin Inscription.
Thankful Owen, STB. Here mingles his sacred dust with that of Goodwin; to whom in life he was most dear. He scarce survived an hour the finishing of a Preface which he had been writing to that great work of Goodwin's on the Epistle to the Ephesians, the publication of which had fallen to his care. Dying with the same calmness with which he had lived, without a groan, save of the heart to Christ, on the 1st April, 1681, in the 63rd year of his age.
Thankful Owen was born, according to one account, at Taplow in Buckinghamshire, but another authority states that he was born in London. While quite a youth he had a remarkable preservation from drowning, for as he was swimming near Oxford he sank twice under the water. He received his education chiefly at Exeter College, Oxford, where his tutor was a Puritan. He became a man of much learning, and was greatly admired for the easy fluency of his language and compositions, and for the quite exceptional purity of his Latin style. He joined the Independent Church, afterwards becoming one of their preachers, and he was also chosen Proctor of the University in 1650, whilst in the same year he became President of St. John's College.
At the Restoration he was ejected by the Commissioners and, like Goodwin, removed to London. Here he lived very quietly, preaching as often as he could and steadfastly maintaining his nonconformity. On the death of Goodwin he was chosen to succeed him, but was only pastor for a fortnight, as he died quite suddenly at his house in Hatton Garden. His last labour was, as stated in the Inscription, to write a Preface for Goodwin's work on the Ephesians, and he had almost finished a work of his own, entitled "Imago Imagins" which was designed to show that Rome Papal was simply an imitation of Rome Pagan. Dr. John Owen said of Thankful Owen that he had not left his fellow behind him for learning, religion, and good humour.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Bunhill Fields Thomas Goodwin 1600-1679

The tomb of Thomas Goodwin ... lies slightly to the south-east of Wavel's. During a terrific thunderstorm a flash of lightning split the top, and all that can now be deciphered is, "Thomas Goodwin, D.D."

Here lies the body of the Rev. Thomas Goodwin, D.D., born at Rolesby, in the county of Norfolk. He had a large and familiar acquaintance with ancient, and above all, with ecclesiastical history. He was exceeded by none in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. He was at once blessed with a rich invention, and a solid and exact judgement. He carefully compared together the different parts of holy writ, and with a marvellous felicity discovered the latent sense of the Divine Spirit who indited them. None ever entered deeper into the mysteries of the gospel, or more clearly unfolded them for the benefit of others. The matter, form, discipline, and all that relates to the constitution of a true Cliurch of Christ, he traced out with an uncommon sagacity, if he was not rather the first Divine who thoroughly investigated them. He was eminently qualified, by the light of sacred truth, to pacify troubled consciences, to dispel the clouds of mistake, and to remove needless scruples from perplexed and bewildered minds. In knowledge, wisdom, and eloquence, he was a truly Christian pastor. In his private discourses, as well as in his public ministry, he edified numbers of souls, whom he had first won by Christ ; till having finished his appointed course both of service and sufferings, in the cause of his Divine Master, he gently fell asleep in Jesus. His writings already published, and what are now preparing for publication (the noblest monuments of this great muse's praise), will diffuse his name in a more fragrant odour than that of the richest perfume, to flourish in those far distant ages, when this marble, inscribed with his just honour, shall have dropt into dust. He died February 23, 1679, in the 80th year of his age.

Dr. Thomas Goodwin, one of the most eminent of the Puritan Divines, was born on October 5th, 1600. His parents, wishing him to be devoted to the ministry, had him educated in a careful and thorough manner, and being blessed with good natural abilities he so improved by diligent study as to become noted even at the early age of thirteen. He had strong impressions of religion upon his mind from the time he was six years old, but when at Christ College, Cambridge, to which he was sent in 1613, he was much engrossed in ambitious designs, and his whole desire was to obtain high offices and the good word of man. When nineteen years of age he removed to Katherine Hall, where his tutor was the famous Puritan, Dr. Sibbes. " On Monday, the 2nd of October, 1620, in the afternoon," while going from Katherine Hall to enjoy himself with his former friends of Christ College, he heard a bell toll for a funeral, and one of his companions, saying there was to be a sermon, pressed him to hear it. The preacher was Dr. Bambridge, who was accounted a witty man, and though his remarks, based on Luke xix. 41, 42, were quite ordinary on this occasion, they made an impression upon the mind of Goodwin. Instead of going on with his companions he returned to his college, having a most powerful sense of sin and a dread of its consequences. It pleased God in a little time gently to speak peace to his soul, and he now saw very clearly how vague and empty had been his previous profession. He had a very real yet peculiar evidence of a true conversion, for he was led to search out the sins which he had loved most, and was by grace enabled to gain the victory over them.
In 1628 he was appointed lecturer at Trinity Church, Cambridge, in spite of the opposition of the Bishop, but in 1634, his conscience being disturbed with the terms of Conformity, he resigned his preferment and left the University.
When referring to this memorable event in after years Goodwin said:
"I freely renounced for Christ, when God converted me, all those designs of pride, and vain-glory, and advancement of myself, upon which my heart was so strongly set that no persuasions of men, nor any worldly considerations, could have diverted me from the pursuit of them. No, it was the power of God alone that prevailed with me to do it. It was He alone that made me willing to live in the meanest and most afflicted condition, so that I might serve Him in all godly sincerity. I cheerfully parted with all for Christ, and He hath made me abundant compensation, not only in the comforts and joys of His love, which are beyond comparison above all other things, but even in this world. What love and esteem I have had among good men, He gave me. He alone made my ministry in the gospel acceptable, and blessed it with success, to the conversion and spiritual good and comfort of many souls."
Goodwin was now a marked man, and Archbishop Laud persecuting him, he left England and went to Holland in 1689. Here he enjoyed liberty of conscience, and became pastor of the English Church at Arnheim. He, however, returned to England during the Long Parliament, and became minister of an Independent Congregation meeting in Thames Street. Being chosen a member of the Assembly of Divines, which met at Westminster in 1643, he took a leading part in the deliberations, and won high esteem by his ability, modesty and meekness. He afterwards published his notes of these transactions, and was himself one of the Dissenting ministers.
His first marriage took place in 1638, his second in 1649, and he was very happy in both. The great Protector, who held him in high favour, appointed him in 1654 to the Presidency of Magdalen College, Oxford. He formed a church in this university town, and his members numbered amongst others, Thankful Owen, Theophilus Gale and Stephen Charnock. Soon after the Restoration he retired from the college and removed once more to London, many of his fellow members and friends following him. Another Independent Church was formed in Fetter Lane, and he preached here until his death.
During the Great Fire of 1666 he lost a large portion of his library, and he felt this blow to be a very severe one. He, however, expressed his thankfulness that his works of divinity were for the most part saved, and that those lost were in the main books of human knowledge. He continued to preach in spite of the Conventicle and Five Mile Acts, and was for the most part unmolested. Except when preaching, he lived a very retired life, dividing his time between prayer, reading and meditation. He had his favourite authors, such as Augustine and Calvin, but his son says,
"The Scriptures were what he most studied. ... The love and free grace of God, the excellencies and glories of our Lord Jesus Christ, were the truths in which his mind soared with the greatest delight."
The last scene of all was also described by his son as follows : — 

"In February, 1679, a fever seized him, which in a few days put an end to his life. In all the violence of it, he discoursed with that strength of faith and assurance of Christ's love, with that holy admiration of free grace, with that joy in believing, and such thanksgivings and praises, as he extremely moved and affected all that heard him. That excellent man, Mr. Collins, praying earnestly for him, offered up this petition, ' That God would return into his bosom all those comforts which he had by his ministry of free grace poured into so many distressed souls.' My dear father felt this prayer answered in the abundant comforts and joys with which he was filled. He rejoiced in the thought that he was dying, and going to have a full and uninterrupted communion with God. 'I am going,' said he, ' to the Three Persons with whom I have had communion: They have taken me; I did not take Them. I shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye; all my lusts and corruptions I shall be rid of, which I could not be here ; those croaking toads will fall oft' in a moment.' And mentioning those great examples of faith, Heb. xi., 'All these,' said he, 'died in faith. I could not have imagined that I should ever have had such a measure of faith in this hour ; no, I could never have imagined it. My bow abides in strength. Is Christ divided ? No, I have the whole of His righteousness ; I am found in Him, not in mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but in the righteousness which is of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Christ cannot love me better than He doth : I think I cannot love Christ better than I do ; I am swallowed up in God.' " Directing his speech to his two sons, he exhorted them to value the privilege of the covenant. 'It hath taken hold on me,' said he; 'my mother was a holy woman ; she spake nothing diminishing of it. It is a privilege cannot be valued enough, nor purchased with a great sum of money,' alluding to the words of the chief captain to Paul, Acts xxii. 28. Then he exhorted them to be careful that they did nothing to provoke God to reject them. 'Now,' said he, 'I shall be ever with the Lord.' With this assurance of faith and fullness of joy, his soul left the world, and went to see and enjoy the reality of that blessed state of glory, which in a discourse on that subject he had so well demonstrated. He died February, 1679, and in the eightieth year of his age."

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bunhill Fields Richard Wavel 1633-1705

Light tells us that a few rows eastward the previous graves he describes, in about the centre of this section of the ground, is the small, fast-decaying headstone of Richard Wavel, BA The words are practically obliterated, but the stone will not be very difficult to identify.
Inscription: This adjourns to the family vault of the late Rev. RlCHARD WAVEL.
Here is the resting-place of one of the victims of the Act of Uniformity. He was born in the Isle of Wight on April 3rd, 1633, and after he had taken bis degree of BA he studied Divinity under the tuition of the Rev. W. Reyner, at Egham, in Surrey. He afterwards married Mr. Reyner's step-daughter, and constantly preached in the church at Egham. When the Act of Uniformity came into force he was compelled by his conscience to sever his connection with the Established Church, although many tempting offers of good livings were made to him. For a time he preached privately at Egham, in his own house, but was compelled to cease, as stern measures were taken against him. He afterwards became minister at Pinners Hall, and on doing so, ''told his people that he would venture his person if they would venture their purses; which they did, and they were put to no small expense by it." It is recorded that "his preaching was plain, and tended very much to exalt Christ, and the grace of God in him; and yet it was his dying advice to his church that they would choose one to succeed him of whom they should have some ground to hope that he would preach Christ crucified more than he had done. He excelled in prayer, more especially upon particular occasions, to which he would apply Scripture expressions with great propriety. It was a most frequent petition in his prayer, which he would express with a warmth and relish that was very remarkable, 'Father, glorify Thy name; Father, glorify Thy Son.' During the time of his last illness, for a fortnight before his death, he enjoyed a continued serenity of mind, expressing to those about him his desire to depart, and rejoicing that his work was finished. To a minister who visited him, telling him that he had suffered much for his Master, Christ, his answer was, 'He owes me nothing.' As he sat in his chair, he lifted up his hands and blessed his children; and as he was going to bed died in his chair, December 19th, 1705, in the 72nd year of his age."