Monday, 29 October 2007

Bogue and Bennett 02

Ecclesiastical history furnishes no such instance of a noble army of confessors at one time: it is an honour peculiar to the English dissenters. Never has the world seen such a sacrifice on principle. A person, who was no dissenter, observed at that time, "I am glad so many have chosen suffering, rather than conformity to the establishment; for had they complied, the world would have thought there had been nothing in religion; but now they have a striking proof that there are some sincere in their professions."
A conformist thus liberally pleads their cause*.' "They have suffered the loss of all things: is it for mere honour, not conscience or religion ? Have they so little wit as not to know what is best, good livings, or nasty prisons ? Do they hate their wives and children ? They declare, they cannot conform: Who should know best, they or we ?"
From this time, the name of puritan was exchanged for that of non-conformist, including presbyterians, independents, baptists, and quakers. They petitioned the king for an indulgence, which, for the sake of covering the Roman catholics, he seemed disposed to grant; but as the parliament was unwilling, they gave him money, and he left the sufferers to their fate. Thus were the tears and blood of the non-conformists, through all this reign, the prize for which
the parliament bestowed subsidies on the king. Some of the ejected ministers, to show their Catholicism, practised what was called occasional conformity, by going to the established places, and joining in the worship, though they could not comply with the terms required of ministers, to swear that they assented to every thing in the book of common prayer*.
*Conformists' Plea *Burnet p. 204
*Dr. Calamy being present at his late parish of Aldermanbury, London, was invited to preach, as the person expected did not come. For complying he was thrown into Newgate; but there was such a resort of persons of distinction to visit him, that it was thought prudent, after a few days, to restore him to liberty.
To be concluded.

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