The Act of Uniformity of 1662 prescribed that any minister in England who refused to conform to the Book of Common Prayer by 14th August 1662 would be ejected from the Church of England. Over 2,000 evangelical ministers left their livings rather than conform to what they saw as extra-Biblical rules and regulations. It was a sad day for the Church of England from which many think the Church never recovered.
This book is not the history of that tragic event but rather gives us an insight into the kind of men who were affected. The book consists of brief biographies and the last sermons by seven men who chose to leave their flock. At the end there is a fascinating catechism which gives us the Biblical reasons why so many felt compelled to resign. First published in 1662 and 1663 the text has been updated into modern English.
Here we see Puritan preaching at is best: Biblical exposition, lively illustrations and pastoral application. Not surprisingly there is a great deal of parting counsel which could be summed up by the phrase "Stand firm in the faith". For these men truth and holiness rightly came before conformity and unity.
Any Christian who is grappling with the issue of whether unity is more important than truth would do well to read this book, especially the catechism. Any minister who is about to preach his last sermon to a congregation will find many stimulating ideas here. All Christians who desire to feed their soul will not be disappointed – this is a spiritual feast.
If you have never read any Puritan books this is a good place to start – you will find these sermons readable, challenging and edifying.