Thursday, 29 November 2012

Commemoration 1962 7 Reasons

 In 1962 under the heading THE COMMEMORATION OF 1662 Iain Murray used the pages of the Banner of Truth magazine to call for commemoration of the then ter-centenary of 1662 by giving seven arguments why the events of that year should be remembered

By the Act of Uniformity which came into force three hundred years ago an the 24th of August, 1662, 2,000 Puritan ministers were ejected from the national church. The following are some of the reasons why this event deserves to be remembered:
1. Because it was the greatest single blow ever struck at Christianity in England and a turning-point in our spiritual history. "An action without precedent, the like to which the Reformed Church, nay the Christian World, never saw before" (Edmund Calamy). "An injury I In the cause of true religion in England which will probably never be repaired ... a more impolitic deed never disfigured the annals of a Protestant Church" ( J C Ryle). The ministers who were ejected themselves regarded it as "the greatest turn there ever was in England" (Thomas Lye); "This fatal Day that deserves to be wrote in Black Letters in England's Calendar" (Matthew Mead).
2. The issues which 1662 raises are the concern of all Christians and are not merely a matter of denominational or party controversy. The principle which was at stake then was whether there is any spiritual authority in church or state that can require us to practise or condone anything which is not found in the Word of God. It was for refusing to acknowledge the existence of any such authority that the 2,000 were ejected.
3.The lesson of 1662 is directly relevant to contemporary discussions for it teaches us that the true cause of all religious disunity is the addition of man's teaching to the Scriptures. "It hath been the design of Satan," declared one ejected minister, "and the work of the corrupt hearts of men in all ages, to be making additions to the Commands of Christ and to be mingling men's inventions with the institutions of Christ in matters of worship."
4. The national sin in 1662 was contempt of the Gospel and disobedience to God's Word. It was an attempt to silence the truth, but it resulted in national catastrophes - in 1665 more than 100,000 of London's population were swept into the grave by plague (4,000 in one night), the next year the city was burned to ashes, and, worst of all God's gift of a true Gospel ministry was replaced by a spiritual famine with eternal consequences to the souls of men. Surely could never less afford to ignore the meaning of 1662 than at the present time! Cf. Matt. xi. 21-24.
5. The ejected Puritans stood against worldliness in the Church and compromise with Rome. These are both critical issues today. In September 1662, Charles II wrote to the Pope of the "greatly longed for union of his three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland with the Apostolic Roman See"; the same kind of thing will be said in September 1962, only the land is now spiritually (compared with three hundred years ago when 2,000 of the ministers of England lost all in order that posterity might be left a faithful witness to New Testament principles.
6. The history of 1662 gives us guidance concerning the true basis of Evangelical Unity. Men whose views on some points differed considerably stood together on what they held to be essentials. We need a like unity today.
7. In our comfortable age we need to recall what Christians once suffered for the Gospel in this country. We need reminding of what faithfulness to the truth meant when the Conventicle Act was in force; when ruinous fines, imprisonment, transportation and exile attended the hidden meetings of persecuted believers; when 5,000 died from the sufferings they endured; when so many Christians were ill in Bristol that children continued the services alone; when the streets of Taunton flowed in blood; and when religion- as Bunyan found during his 12 long years in Bedford jail - walked not "in golden slippers in the sunshine and with applause" but in contempt, and hazarded all for God. Such facts need to be heard like a trumpet blast in the year 1962! They will teach us that the Church can receive more injury from the sunshine of prosperity than she ever received from the storms of persecution.

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