Thursday, 29 November 2012

Tyerman on the Nonconformists

Tyerman suggests that the Nonconformist ministers may be divided into several classes
1. Some were moderate Episcopalians, and would have conformed to the Prayer-book and to the Church government that were in use previous to the Commonwealth, but could not give their unfeigned assent to all things in the Prayer-book as revised by the Convocation of 1661.
2. Some were of no sect or party, but liked what was good in all, without being able to adopt the Prayer-book as prescribed.
3. Some were Presbyterians, of whom Baxter says: "They were the soberest and most judicious, unanimous, peaceable, faithful, able, and constant ministers that he had ever heard or read of in the Christian world."
4. Some were Independents, of whom the same writer says: "They were serious, godly men, some of them moderate, little differing from the Presbyterians, and as well ordered as any; but others were more raw and self-conceited, and addicted to separations and divisions, their real being greater than their knowledge." Perhaps Baxter was hardly an unprejudiced witness respecting either the Presbyterians or the Independents.
Tyerman highlights among the Nonconformists
Calamy, Bates, Annesley, Brooks, Poole, Manton, Gouge, Thomas Watson, Owen, John Goodwin, Charnock, Thomas Harrison, Flavel, Ambrose, Richard and Joseph Alleine, Oliver Heywood, John Howe, Richard Baxter.

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