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.

Tyerman on the Conformists

Tyerman (again in his life of Samuel Wesley) suggests that the ministers who conformed were largely of three classes.
1. Those who had been Presbyterians or Independents, or other sectaries, and who on former occasions had more or less opposed episcopacy and the Book of Common Prayer
2. Those who had already conformed to previous changes - passively submitting to their superiors for the time being, be they who they might
3. A class of consistent Episcopalians, including
1 Such as had been allowed to hold their livings, and to use the Prayer-book even during the Commonwealth
2 Such as had been ejected from their benefices, but had been reinstated since the Restoration
3 Such as had been recently ordained, and inducted into livings during the last 12 months.
He says that many of these Conformists — as Tillotson, Gurnall, Stillingfleet, Cudworth, and others — were men of high character; but many others were low, mean, grovelling spirits, who valued the priest's office only because it gave them a piece of bread. Some idea may be formed of the character of many of the clergy who conformed in 1662, he suggests, from the fact that three years after, daring the great plague in London, instead of firmly remaining at the post of duty when most needed, numbers of the London clergy, like craven spirits, rushed off into the country, leaving their pulpits to be occupied, and their afflicted and dying parishioners to be cared for, by the very ministers who had been ejected by the Act of Uniformity.

Tyerman on why they left

By this Act of Uniformity, thousands of men, guilty of no crime, - nothing contrary either to justice, mercy, or truth, - were stripped of all they had - of their houses, lands, revenues - and driven to seek where they could, or beg their bread. For what? Because they did not dare to worship God according to other men's consciences!
See Luke Tyerman, Life and times of Rev Sameuel Wesley MA (available online)

Tyerman on the farewell sermons

The previous Sunday had been a day such as England never knew, either before or since. Hundreds of faithful ministers on that day preached farewell sermons to heart-broken, weeping flocks. Churches were crowded; aisles and stairs were crammed to suffocation; and people clung to the open windows like swarms of bees. It would have been pardonable if the ministers had mingled with the loving exhortations addressed to the distressed crowds before them sentiments of indignation at the legislative act which was the means of their removal. But, instead of that, the discourses were as calm as the pastors had ever preached, and some of them scarcely alluded to the peculiar circumstances of the time.
See Luke Tyerman. Life and Times of Rev Samuel Wesley MA (available online)

Tyerman on the big decision

Terrible were the struggles in many a good man's breast during the fourteen weeks elapsing between the 19th of May and the 24th of August 1662. As the corn ripened, and the country rector sat with his wife in the snug parlour, and looked out of the latticed windows on the children chasing the butterflies in the garden, or gathering daisies on the glebe, he had to decide in his heart and conscience whether he should leave all this, or whether he should keep it. He must either conform, or he and his family must go. Such was the ugly alternative. The vicarage was comfortable and commodious; the means of usefulness had bright attractions; and hardest wrench of all it was, to snap the union between the shepherd and his flock. To resolve to go, required now and then a woman's quiet fortitude to reinforce a man's more loud resolve.
See Luke Tyerman. Life and Times of Rev Samuel Wesley MA (available online)

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.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Westminster Conference 2013

The conference next week (4th, 5th) includes papers on 1662 by Lee Gatiss and Andrew Davies who will look at Philip Henry and Samuel Jones. More here.

Samuel Jones

Welsh biography online includes this entry
JONES , SAMUEL ( 1628-1697), Nonconformist minister and schoolmaster; b. in the district of Chirk, Denbs., son of John Roberts , Corwen — the son taking his father's Christian name as a surname. Nothing is known of his early education. He matriculated in the University of Oxford as from All Soul's College, became a Fellow of Jesus College [c.1653] and a lecturer there, received holy orders at Taunton, Somerset, and was appointed vicar of Llangynwyd, Glam., c. 1657 . He m. a daughter of Rees Powell, a person of some substance and importance in that neighbourhood. He refused to bow under the Act of Uniformity in 1662 and was deprived of his living. He moved to Brynllywarch in the same parish and opened there an Academy which became well known. Although an excellent preacher, he did not itinerate as did many of his contemporaries. As a scholar and a man of a high degree of culture, he devoted his time and his powers to the training of young men for the ministry. Brynllywarch became a ‘university’ for early Nonconformist ministers. The Presbyterian Board and the Congregational Board made generous grants towards the support of Brynllywarch students, among whom were Samuel Price, assistant to Dr. Watts the hymnist, Rice price, father of Dr Richard Price, James Owen and Philip Pugh (qq.v.). Samuel Jones was a convinced Nonconformist but liberal-minded and tolerant. In spite of all appeals made to him to conform he remained true to his principles to the end. His correspondence with a bishop and archdeacon of Llandaff and his letter to a friend are historical documents. Under the Act of Indulgence, 1672, he secured several licences to hold meetings and to preach as Presbyterian and Independent . To him the difference between Presbyterian and Independent was but slight — just as it was to Stephen Hughes and Daniel Higgs (qq.v.), the Independents who ‘recommended’ him. He d. in July 1697, highly respected by the gentry and by common folk. [He should not be confused with the subject of the next article, his son.]

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Act of Uniformity

The act itself is mentioned here at Total politics This is resumbaly a picture iof the item itself.