Monday, 18 July 2011

Coleman Anecdote 05 Francis Bampfield

A Mr Francis Bamfield, ejected from Sherbourn, in the same county [Dorset], was, after his ejectment, praying and expounding a portion of Scripture, as was his custom, with his family, and a few neighbours were present, when some soldiers broke in upon them, and obtained a warrant for their imprisonment. He afterwards suffered eight years' confinement in Dorchester jail, which he bore with great courage and patience, being filled with the comfort of the Holy Ghost. He preached in the prison sometimes every day, and gathered a church there. When he obtained his liberty he travelled in several counties preaching the Word. Was taken up again and imprisoned in Salisbury, where he continued 18 weeks. He afterwards formed a church in London, of the Baptist persuasion, which met at Pinners' Hall; but here he was exposed to fresh persecution. On one occasion the constable and several men with halberts rushed into the assembly when he was in the pulpit. The constable ordered him, in the king's name, to come down. He replied that he was discharging his office in the name of the King of kings. The constable told him he had a warrant from the Lord Mayor. Mr B replied, "I have a warrant from Christ, who is Lord Maximus, to go on;" and so proceeded in his discourse. But the constable and one of the officers pulled him down. They seized him, took him and six more to the Lord Mayor, who fined several of them £10. In the same month he was again pulled out of his pulpit, and led through the streets with the Bible in his hand, and great numbers of people after him, some reproaching and others speaking in his favour, one of whom said, "See how he walks, with the Bible in his hand, like one of the old martyrs.'" Being brought to the session, where the Lord Mayor was, he and three more were sent to prison. When afterwards brought to receive their sentence, the recorder, after odiously aggravating their offence, and reflecting on scrupulous consciences, read their sentence as follows: "That they were out of the protection of the king's majesty; that all their goods and chattels were forfeited; and that they were to remain in jail during their lives, or during the king's pleasure." Upon this Mr. B. would have spoken, but there was a great uproar—" Away with them, we will not hear them"—when Mr. B. said, "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness," " The Lord be judge in this case." They were then returned to Newgate, where Mr Bamfield, who was of a tender constitution, soon after died.

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