Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Stoughton's Heroes 06

In the year following that in which the Act of Uniformity was passed, another statute was made for the oppression of the Nonconformists. Under pretence of preventing riotous assemblies, such as had recently troubled the peace of Yorkshire and Westmoreland, in which a few of the Fifth Monarchy men were implicated, it was enacted that if more than five persons, besides the members of a family, met together for religious exercises, anywhere but in the churches of the Establishment, the offenders should in the first instance be fined five pounds, or be imprisoned three months; in the second, pay ten pounds or suffer imprisonment for six months; and in the third, forfeit a hundred pounds or be sent over the seas for seven years. The Act did not remain a dead letter in the statute-book. In many places it was carried out with extreme rigour. The Nonconformists were carefully watched: spies were set to discover where they worshipped, and inform the local authorities. Men calling themselves officers of justice were prompt in endeavouring to arrest the parties, and inflict the penalty. The records of the Church at Broadmead, Bristol, contain several notices of the operation of the Act. As the people met at one Mr Yeats's house, a baker, in Maryport Street, the house was beset by the mayor and several aldermen, who demanded entrance; but the door being kept close, they forced it open with iron bars: some of the worshippers escaped out the back of the premises; others were seized and sent to prison. "We were hunted by the Nimrods," observe these humble confessors, "and assaulted many u time by men, but saved by God." One day, on a week meeting, a guard of musketeers was sent to take them into custody; but, getting down into a cellar, they eluded their enemies' search. "Another time, at brother Ellin's, on a Lord's day, the mayor and aldermen, with officers, beset the house, and at last broke open the back door, and so came in; but in the meantime our brother having contrived, by a great cupboard, to hide a garret door, ho sent up most of the men out of the meeting into the said garret; and so we were concealed." The Nonconformists in country villages sometimes avoided detection by assembling in some manorial hall belonging to one of the richer brethren; and there, at the midnight hour, the ejected pastor gathered round him some of his scattered Mock, and refreshed their hearts by the sound of his familiar voice, but infinitely more by the truths he uttered. Thus, in the great hull at Hudscott, belonging to the family of the Rolles, near South Moulton, in Devonshire, did John Flavel address a crowded auditory. Supported by the hospitality, and screened by the influence, of the owner of the mansion, he there resided for some time; and amidst the plantations, gardens, and rural scenes which environed the spot, gathered the materials of his "Husbandry Spiritualized;" so that it is highly probable he furnished in his midnight exorcises many of those ingenious illustrations, so suited to the tastes and habits of his rustic flock, which are found in the popular work just mentioned. The recesses of the dark wood offered a still more secure, and in some seasons even a more grateful sanctuary; and beneath the shades of lofty pines, or overhanging elms, or round the gnarled trunks of oaks that had stood for ages, forming temples of God's own building, - the persecuted brotherhood assembled to hear the Word of God; and there, too, at times, without fear, and freely as the birds on the branches, would they lift up their voices to heaven, and chant the high praises of their Creator. So did a group of Christians at Andover meet in a sequestered dell, amidst a wide-spreading wood, four miles from the town, while the clear shining stars, or the pale moon, guided them to their retreat. The same little company afterwards assembled in a private dwelling-house, selecting the night as the season for worship. "It was when the eye of human observation was closed by sleep, that they ventured to the room; and having entered it, made fast the door and closed the window-shutter, and even extinguished the light of the candle, lest its glimmering might be discovered through a crevice, by some stray enemy from without. Here they often continued all night in prayer to God, until the ray of morning light, struggling down the chimney, announced the time to disperse. Thus they learnt that the darkness hideth not from God, but the night shineth as the day; and that the Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward us openly."
But the cleverest precautions sometimes failed. In many cases they were altogether neglected; and the worshippers exposed themselves to detection, from a consciousness that they were only obeying the laws of God, however their conduct might be regarded by the laws of men. It touched the heart of Mr Pepys, High Churchman as he was, to see these unoffending persons led through the streets as culprits. He writes in his Journal, under date 1664, "I saw several poor creatures carried by constables, for being at a conventicle. They go like lambs, without any resistance; and would to God they would either conform, or be more wise, and not be catched." Such were the consequences of the Restoration of Charles II. "Fiat justitia, ruat coelum," ('Let justice be done, even if Heaven falls') said a zealous Presbyterian Royalist, when conversing with a friend upon the question of bringing in his Majesty. "Ruit coelum," (the heavens are falling)remarked this friend, on meeting him one day after the Act of Uniformity was passed.

Stoughton's Heroes 05

Some, indeed, may look on them as fictions; but those who thoroughly believe the assurance of the Divine Redeemer, that if we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all needful things shall be added unto us, will readily allow the probability, the verisimilitude of such statements; nor can any fair suspicion be entertained respecting the veracity, the means of information, the good sense, and habits of careful inquiry possessed by the men who have related these incidents. If we believe (and who that reads the New Testament can disbelieve it?) that a special providence watches over those who strive to do God's will, and rest upon his promises, we shall be prepared to admit remarkable interpositions on behalf of men who signalized themselves by their religious integrity? Instead of there being an antecedent improbability against such facts, they are the very facts which Divine revelation stamps with a striking likelihood.
The pecuniary difficulties, however, in which the Act of Uniformity involved so many devoted men, were only the beginning of sorrows: their reputation, their personal liberty and their lives were soon in jeopardy. For these silenced ministers to preach to their late parishioners and friends, for them even to pray with a few devout spirits like themselves, was deemed a crime. Their words were often caught up, and with diabolical ingenuity construed into treason. If some quaint preacher spoke of the devil as a king who courts the soul, and speaks fair till he has obtained his throne, the metaphorical language was grossly perverted, and there were informers ready to declare that the good man said the King was like the Evil One. Treason, heresy, schism, were unscrupulously charged upon this proscribed class and the malicious were never at a loss for pretexts to compass their purposes. Ruffians were ready to execute the bidding of inhuman magistrates and informers, and would rush into the houses of ejected ministers while they were praying with their families, and, levelling a pistol at the back of the suppliant, command him in the King's name to rise and surrender himself. Dragged before prejudiced justices of the peace to answer charges equally vague and false, these Puritans were treated with a brutality which in the present day appears incredible. When, for example, one of these confessors was pleading his own cause, an alderman rose from the bench, tore off the satin cap worn by the accused and boxed his ears. The ejected ministers were sometimes conducted through the streets by constables after the manner of criminals and compelled to walk long distances to prison, till their feet were pierced through their worn-out shoes and stained with blood.
A memorable story is told of one of these worthies, illustrative of the inhumanity of his persecutors and of his own beautiful Christian spirit. Thomas Worts was Curate of Burningham in Norfolk. Being apprehended after his ejectment by a writ De excommunicato capiendo, he was brought from Burningham to Norwich Castle with his legs chained under the horse's belly. Entering that old wall-girt city through St Augustine's Gate, which with its square tower guarded one of the northern entrances, he was watched by a woman looking from a chamber window, who exclaimed in derision, as he passed close by her, "Worts, where's now your God?" "Turn," said the injured man, "to Micah vii 10: Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, "Where is the Lord thy God? Mine eye shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.'" It is added, that the woman, touched by this allusion, ceased from her enmity and became a kind friend to the man whom she had insulted. Worts had a brother named Richard, who in like manner was apprehended and was imprisoned for seven years. Part of this time was spent in Norwich Castle, in a miserable cell containing six prisoners beside himself, with wickets looking into the felons' yard, which were constantly kept open, or the inmates would have been stifled with the fumes of the charcoal burnt in that cold damp place. "If his wife came to see one of the captives, he was called down to the door; and the keeper used to set his back against one side of the doorway, and his foot against the other, so as to prevent her entrance any farther." The plague was raging at the time; the filth and stench of the prison were alone enough to create a pestilence. The close confinement of the prisoners seriously affected their health; one was in imminent danger; and under these circumstances application was made for at least a temporary release - but in vain.

Stoughton's Heroes 04

"With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran:
Even children follow'd with endearing wile,
And pluck'd his gown to share the good man's smile :
His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest,
Their welfere pleased him, and their cares distrest;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,—
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven:
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm;
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head."

The 24th of August, perhaps, was the most trying day to the ejected ministers, for then as men of God they surrendered their spiritual charge; but the day when they left their homes, endeared by the domestic associations of past happy years, could not fail to affect them deeply, for then came their trial as husbands and fathers. No artist that I know of has painted the Nonconformist and his family leaving the parsonage, though it would form an interesting subject for his pencil; nor has any poet selected it as the theme for his muse: but the well-known lines in Goldsmith's Deserted Village may be accommodated to the incident, and will bring before us the picture with touching beauty.
"Good Heaven! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day,
That call'd them from their native walks away,
When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
Hung round the bowers, and fondly look'd their last.
With loudest plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And blest the cot where every pleasure rose,
And kiss'd her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasp'd them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
While her fond husband strove to lend relief,
In all the silent manliness of grief."
Upon the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII and upon the deprivation of the Popish priests under Elizabeth, some provision was made for their necessities; and when any one of the Episcopal clergy, during the Commonwealth, was dismissed from his living, a fifth of his former income was reserved for his use: but no consideration of this kind was shown to the ministers who were ejected by the Act of Uniformity. Numbers of them were therefore reduced to perfect poverty. Some interesting facts have been preserved relative to their sufferings, and the remarkable interpositions of Providence in their behalf: but what a multitude of such facts, in the history of two thousand families or more, must have passed into oblivion!
Not long after the year 1662, Mr Grove, a gentleman of great opulence, whose seat was near Bird-bush, upon his wife's lying dangerously ill, sent to his parish minister to pray with her. When the messenger came, he was just gone out with the hounds, and sent word he would come when the hunt was over. Mr Grove expressing much resentment against the minister for choosing rather to follow his diversions than attend one of his flock in such circumstances, one of the servants took the liberty to say, 'Sir, our shepherd, if you will send for him, can pray very well: we have often heard him at prayer in the field.' Upon this he was immediately sent for; and Mr Grove asking him whether he ever did or could pray, the shepherd fixed his eyes upon him, and with peculiar seriousness in his countenance, replied, 'God forbid, Sir, I should live one day without prayer.' He was then desired to pray with the sick lady; which he did so pertinently to her case, with such fluency and fervour of devotion, as greatly to astonish the husband and all the family who were present. When they arose from their knees, the gentleman addressed him to this effect: 'Your language and manner discover you to be a very different person from what your appearance indicates. I conjure you to inform me who and what you are, and what were your views and situation in life before you came into my service.' Upon which he told him he was one of the ministers who had been lately ejected from the Church; and that having nothing of his own left, he was content for a livelihood to submit to the honest and peaceful employment of tending sheep. On hearing this, Mr Grove said, ' Then you shall be my shepherd,' and immediately erected a meeting-house on his own estate, in which Mr Ince (for that was the shepherd's name) preached and gathered a congregation of Dissenters."
After the ejectment of Mr Perkins, Vicar of Burley in Rutlandshire, he often travelled on the Lord's day several miles from home to preach, and got ten shillings for his day's service, which for a great while was the most that he had to support his family. He was often in straits. At one time a niece of his, whom he had brought up, going after her marriage to visit him, in the course of free conversation with her, he said, "Child, how much do you think I have to keep my family? — but a poor threepence." After which, she appearing affected, he with a great deal of cheerfulness cried out, "Fear not; God will provide;" and in a little time a gentleman's servant knocked at the door, who brought him a side of venison for a present, together with some wheat and malt. Mr Maurice, Rector of Shelton in Shropshire, was sometimes reduced to great straits, whilst he lived at Shrewsbury after his ejectment. Once, when he had been very thoughtful, and was engaged in prayer with his family, suiting some petitions to their necessitous case, a carrier knocked at the door, inquired for him, and delivered to him a handful of money untold, as a present from some friends, but would not tell who they were.
These are but specimens of the legendary tales handed down respecting the Bartholomew confessors.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Stoughton's Heroes 03

At length the feast of St. Bartholomew arrived. It was with an aching heart that many a one rose that morning. With what deep feeling must the pastor have prayed in his closet - the father in his family! That day dawned on them in plenty; it would close on them in pauperism. We are told of the immense congregations that assembled to hear the farewell discourses, and of the numbers who were melted into tears. The ejected ministers had to preach funeral sermons over their own ministry. Their official character now ceased. Henceforth their lips in public must be sealed, as with the touch of death. This gave unwonted force and pathos to their ministrations, and no one can wonder that the listening multitudes were melted into tears. Some of the sermons are preserved, and they are remarkable for the singleness of purpose which they display. The preacher evidently aims alone at the edification of his people on this last opportunity of addressing them. There is a striking absence in their discourses of everything like party feeling, of invectives against their enemies, of attempts to excite pity for themselves. Their personal allusions are few, simple, manly, and dignified. "I know," said the eminent Dr Bates in his farewell sermon, "I know you expect I should say something as to my Nonconformity: I shall only say thus much, - it is neither fancy, faction, nor humour that makes me not to comply, but merely for fear of offending God. And if after the best means used for my illumination, as prayer to God, discourse, or study, I am not able to be satisfied concerning the lawfulness of what is required, - if it be my unhappiness to be in error, surely men will have no reason to be angry with me in this world, and I hope God will pardon me in the next."
"Brethren," exclaims Mr Lye, " I could do very much for the love I bear to you, but I dare not sin. I know they will tell you this is pride and peevishness in us, that we are tender of our reputation, and would fain all be Bishops, and forty things more; but the Lord be witness between them and us in this. Beloved, I prefer my wife and children before a blast of air or people's talk. I am very sensible of what it is to be reduced to a morsel of bread. Let the God of heaven and earth do what He will with me, if I could have subscribed with a good conscience I would: I would do anything to keep myself in the work of God; but to sin against God, I dare not do it." In meeting the charge of disaffection to the Government, Mr Atkin observes, "Let him never be accounted a sound Christian that doth not fear God and honour the King. I beg that you will not interpret our Nonconformity to be an act of unpeaceableness and disloyalty. We will do anything for his Majesty but sin. We will hazard anything for him bnt our souls. We hope we could die for him, only we dare not be damned for him. We make no question, however we may be accounted of here, we shall be found loyal and obedient subjects at our appearance before God's tribunal."
Men who could thus talk and act, must have felt, as the feast of Bartholomew closed upon them, a conscious integrity, and a self-respect which compensated for their temporal losses. Some ministers, who had conformed, once met Mr Christopher Jackson, of Crossby on the Hill, in Westmoreland, an ejected brother, and taunted him with his threadbare coat. "If it be bare," he rejoined, "it has never been turned." And truly a man whose soul is clothed with an untorn conscience, though his attire be that of a beggar, may walk through the world with a more portly bearing and princely step than he whose ragged conscience is covered with the costliest robes! Some of the parishioners of these ministers wondered at their scruples."Ah! Mr. Heywood," said a countryman, addressing the Vicar of Ormskirk, "we would gladly have you preach still in the church." "Yes," said he, "I would as gladly preach as you can desire it, if I could do it with a safe conscience." "Oh, Sir," replied the man, "many now-a-days make a great gash in their consciences: cannot you make a little nick in yours?" And some of the very individuals who were in the first instance the loudest in condemning conformity, and in leading their brethren to the edge of the Rubicon, and persuading them to make the decisive plunge, when it came to the point to do the thing themselves, shrank back from the danger, and blamed the men whom they had before cheered on. "Never conform! never conform!" said the Rector of Burnham to Mr Clopton, who had the living of Reckondon, "Never conform, Sir!" - but when St Bartholomew's day came, this zealous adviser could not find it in his heart to sacrifice his tithes and his glebe. He then wrote to Mr Clopton, and told him to remember that Reckondon was a good living; but the minister, who had been at first less excited about the matter than his neighbour, wrote back word that "he hoped he should keep a good conscience." The men who, with integrity and uprightness, sacrificed their livings, secured for themselves a much better inheritance than the men who, on the principles of expediency, conformed and retained their benefices.

Stoughton's Heroes 02

The feast of St Bartholomew, August 24th, 1662, was the day fixed for the execution of the Act. In anticipating the day, there were some who were mainly anxious about retaining their livings, and were little scrupulous respecting their submission to the conditions imposed. Their consciences had been so exercised already in the matter of conformity, that they had become amazingly supple. Some of these compliant personages had been Prelatists under Charles, Presbyterians under the Parliament, Independents under Cromwell, and were therefore now prepared to take another bend in their ecclesiastical coarse, and become once more zealous Episcopalians, and advocates for the Book of Common Prayer. But others, who had not attained to such marvellous flexibility of mind, took into their grave consideration the newly-enacted terms of conformity. Some men, who had a conscience, did not think that oaths could be so lightly abjured, and their moral obligation so easily annulled, as this new law took for granted; and though quite prepared to swear allegiance to the Crown, they could not go so far as to subscribe to the doctrine of unqualified passive obedience. But subscription to the revised Book of Common Prayer constituted with many the chief difficulty. As to the exact contents of it, some of the ministers could not be informed previously to the time of their being required to give to it their unfeigned assent and consent; inasmuch as it was not issued from the press till a very short time before the 24th of August, and men living in remote parts of the country could not obtain the volume by that day. But, of course, the ministers were acquainted with its contents in general. Baptismal regeneration, the practice of having godfathers and godmothers, using the sign of the cross, kneeling at the Lord's Supper, the belief of a threefold order in the ministry, the burial-service, confirmation, and the reading of the Apocrypha in churches, were all still sanctioned in the Prayer-Book; and these points, which had from the beginning been opposed by the Puritans, remained as strongly objectionable as ever. Exceptions were also taken against several of the canons. Thus far almost all who belonged to the Puritan class were agreed, but the strict Presbyterians and Independents obviously had additional and yet graver objections to the new Establishment.
The parsonages in many parts of England, as the corn was ripening in the summer of 1662, must have been the scenes of some memorable struggles between conscience and care, faith and feeling. Good men were reduced to a sad dilemma. The alternative was not the parish-church or the conventicle, tithe or voluntary contribution, but preaching as a Conformist or silence - a legalized income or beggary. To render the hardship the more severe, the terms of conformity were imposed before Michaelmas, when the payment of the year's tithes would be due, and therefore the ejected ministers would lose a twelvemonth's income. They were men - they were husbands - they were fathers; they had their quiet studies, and they saw their families in comfort - their wives sitting in the snug parlour of the rectory - their children sporting in the garden or over the glebe. To leave these tranquil homes, to exchange them for abject poverty, - here was a trial of faith, more easily talked of than thoroughly realised. It were ridiculous to look on these individuals as obstinate fanatics, - they had heads and hearts, and both were at work in this trying season. They thought deeply on the matter, weighed it carefully, looked at it on all sides, prayed over it, conversed about it. Perhaps the reader sees one of them in his study revolving the whole subject, examining the Prayer-Book, pondering its objectionable sentences, and writing down his reasons for dissent. Perchance a wife and a mother, who is honouring this volume by her perusal, may with all the vividness of a woman's imagination picture to herself the country rector, and the beloved companion of his cares, sitting at eventide by the window, round which the honeysuckle and the rose are entwining their buds and shedding their fragrance, first looking at the garden which she has cultivated with her own hands, and the church peeping above the trees where he has laboured for many a year, and then gazing on
each other with tears as they discuss the point, "We must conform, or leave all this next August." Nor did the ministers neglect to correspond with one another on the question: the sluggish post was anxiously waited for by many a worthy, as he expected from some clerical brother a folio sheet of closely-written answers to a similar amount of matter in the form of query and objection. After mature deliberation the Nonconformist adopted his resolve, sometimes with a solemnity which rendered all subsequent hesitation impossible. A copy of a written resolution by Mr Samuel Birch, of Hampton, Oxfordshire, addressed in the most solemn manner to the Deity, is preserved by Calamy. "I am at thy footstool," says this confessor; "I may not do evil that good may come, - I may not do this great sin against my God and the dictates of my conscience. I therefore surrender myself, my soul, my ministry, my people, my place, my wife and children, and whatsoever else is herein concerned, into thy hand from whom I received them. Lord, have mercy upon me, and assist me for ever to keep faith and a good conscience." One good man braced himself up for the crisis, by preaching to his people for several successive Sabbaths from the words of Paul to the suffering Hebrews: "Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance." Another, who had a wife and 10 children, fortified himself by reflecting on that consolatory passage in our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, where lie bids his followers take no thought for the morrow, and chides their distrust in Providence by an appeal to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field ; and when this excellent individual was asked how he would maintain his large family, he replied, "They must live on the sixth chapter of Matthew."

Stoughton's Heroes 01

The Chapter on Black Bartholomew in John Stoughton's 1850 book Spiritual Heroes or Sketches of the Puritans begins thus

CROMWELL was gone: his son, unable to bear the heavy load which his father had sustained, was soon oppressed with the difficulties of his position, and abdicated the Protectorship. By treachery and intrigue the Restoration was accomplished: and after years of war and suffering for the sake of liberty, the people were seen prostrate at the feet of Charles II; asking no guarantees against the revival of despotism, but rather craving forgiveness for the victories they had won. The Royalist party, recovering from their depression, knew no bounds to their joy, as they welcomed another sovereign of the Stuart line. In a state of perfect delirium they celebrated his accession to his father's throne. Bonfires blazed in many a market-place and on many a hill, - the streets at night shone with illuminations, - windows were decorated with tapestry and garlands, - the May-poles were set up in the cross ways, - rumps of beef were roasted for the populace, and loaves of bread were thrown from the tops of market-houses. The bells rang till the steeples rocked, and crowds shouted till the very earth shook. The Royalist, on his knees, drank to the health of his Prince; and the swaggering Cavalier once more boldly sang his favourite lay, "The King shall enjoy his own again."

"No Bishop, no King," was the motto of James; and his grandson, so far adopting the sentiment as to regard Episcopacy as a bulwark to the throne, early restored the prelates to their office and rank. Mr Pepys, in his curious and inquisitive rambles, went down to Westminster on the 4th October, 1660, to see how the crochet and lawn looked after long disuse, and on his return home wrote down in his Journal, "Saw the Bishops all in their habits in Henry VII's Chapel; but, at their going out, how people did most of them look upon them as strange creatures, and few with any kind of love or respect."

The altered state of things foreboded evil enough to all classes of Nonconformists; and however some might be buoyed up with hopes of "liberty to tender consciences," the worst fears of others were completely realised. The Presbyterians had been active in the restoration of the King. They had attended him with acclamations through the city towards Westminster; and good old Mr Arthur Jackson had presented the gay monarch with a richly-bound Bible, which Charles promised should be the rule of his actions. They had also received the royal assurance that respect should be paid to their conscientious scruples; and they soothed themselves with the hope of retaining their benefices by some compromise with their adversaries. They sought a revision of the Liturgy, and some other alterations in ecclesiastical matters; in consequence of which a conference on the subject was appointed by the King to take place at the Savoy Palace, between 21 Anglican divines and as many of the Presbyterian order. "It broke up," says Burnet, "without doing any good. It did rather hurt, and heightened the sharpness that was then on people's minds to such a degree that it needed no addition to raise it higher. The Presbyterians laid their complaints before the King. But little regard was had to them; and now all the concern that seemed to employ the Bishops' thoughts was, not only to make no alteration on their own account, but to make the terms of conformity much stricter than they had been before the war."

Before the Savoy Conference terminated, the two Houses of Convocation assembled. The ruling party, having resolved to disregard the conscientious scruples of their brethren, proceeded to take measures for the full enforcement of their own ecclesiastical system. They decided that Episcopal ordination was indispensably necessary, and that all who would not submit to that right should be compelled to relinquish their benefices. They revised the Book of Common Prayer, and introduced a number of alterations, some of which seemed to be intended only for the purpose of exasperating the Puritans. It was known that they objected to saints' days, - the Bishops increased the number. It was known that they disliked the Apocryphal lessons, - the Bishops therefore added another, containing the story of Bel and the Dragon. Parliament at length confirmed the work of the Convocation, and passed the memorable Act of Uniformity. This law enjoined on all clergymen to profess their unfeigned assent and consent to everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer; to repudiate the Solemn League and Covenant, and acknowledge that the oath taken to maintain it involved no moral obligation; and further, to declare that it was unlawful under any pretence whatever to take up arms against the King.

Farewell Sermons

Where can we find the farewell sermons? David Appleby highlights
1. The 77 printed sermons by 50 men mentioned elsewhere
2. The 8 sermons by Moseley preacher Joseph Cooper amalgamated and printed together
3. The valedictory addresses written of in various contemporary diaries and other similar accounts
4. Five sermons in manuscript form. The same hand transcribed sermons by Thomas Ford, Lewis Stucley and Thomas Powel delivered in Exeter. These are preserved in the Rawlinson MS at the Bodleian.
5. Two sermons by Matthew Newcomen given at Dedham that can be found in Dr Williams' Library. The latter was published though in revised form.
The overwhelming majority of printed sermons appeared 1662-1664. At least 19 pamphlets of various sizes circulated (from one or two sermons to Richard Fairclough's 14 sermon series). Compilations soon began to appear as well, first by London men then from elsewhere. At least 16 compilations appeared August 1662-March 1663 some containing as many as 42 sermons. There was at least one translation - into Dutch.
A unique and anonymous East Midlands collection England's Remembrancer was published in 1663. Calamy revealed their names in 1713. Unlike other publications, it contained only farewell sermons.
We must remember that, all told, this is still only a small fraction of the hundreds of farewell sermons preached at the time.

Geographical distribution

Elsewhere we have given Thomas Coleman's list. David Appleby comments that "religious dissent was everywhere in evidence". He notes that Richard Greaves found Presbyterians to be strongly represented in Northumberland, Lancashire, Cheshire, Devon, Somerset (esp Bristol) and Carmarthen (South West Wales), while Congregationalists proliferated in south and central Wales, the Midlands, Essex, Suffolk and Lancashire. A G Matthews' thought that the concentration of nonconformist ministers was highest in the west country, followed by Essex, Suffolk and Lancashire, with a fairly even distribution elsewhere. This West Country predominance is noticeable in the printed literature (London also, unsurprisingly, dominates). The phenomenon was found in every county facilitated by various efficient networks.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Their youthfulness

Appleby tells us that by the mid-17th Century the average clergyman began ministering in his mid-twenties and commonly went on for another 30 years. Seaver says that in 1640-1662 the average age of incumbents rose to 42. Appleby says that the average age at the Ejection of those listed in Calamy Revisited (where the data is available) was 41.9. The average from those who published farewell sermons is 39.6. Ten Midlands authors featured in England's Remembrancer were on average as low as 32.7. The point then is that far from being past their prime, those ejected in 1662 were younger than average.
Even the older ones could be very energetic. Appleby cites Richard Fairclough (41) who habitually rose at 3 am to squeeze in all the various things he did in a week. This factor should be borne in mind when we consider how it was that these men (unlike the elderly bishops recently restored) went on preaching for decades after 1662.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Educated men

Though not all university men, the ejected men of 1662 were well educated and trained in rhetoric often using Latin, Greek and even Hebrew to get the message across. Non-university men like Richard Baxter and John Oldfield were clearly well read, which was a Puritan tradition. David Appleby makes the point that 'Far from being inferior, the ejected ministers of 1662 were at the very least the intellectual equals of the confomrist clergy.' They were educated not just in their college days but after through household seminaries run by experienced ministers. From the time of Elizabeth godly conferences had been a feature of the scene. Those such as the one at Dedham had become famous. They have been compared to modern professional associations.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

University men

On page 20 of his book on 1662 David Appleby says that despite statements by W F Mitchell in 1932 saying that those who were ejected were generally poorly educated some 85% were university graduates. Most had gone to Cambridge, especially those who had farewell sermons printed. At least 87 attended Emmanuel College, 'a hotbed of Puritanism'. He suggests that the tutors would have encouraged friendships and that Ralph Venning, George Swinnock and John Whitlock (all of whom graduated from Emmanuel in 1646) would have known each other from their teenage years being part of a larger group in other colleges. Luke Cranwell, Henry Newcombe, John Barrett, Robert Seddon and Oliver Heywood all graduated from Cambridge that same year.
Fewer had studied at oxford but just four colleges - Exeter, Magdalen, New Inn Hall and Wadham produced 111 between them. The writers went to Wadham (Robert Atkins, Thomas Lye, Thomas Manton) and Exeter (Joseph Caryl, John Galpin, George Newton).