And so the anniversary comes round once again. Understandably, this year the date is marked in a more low key way. Last year, among other things, there was the well attended study day on March 27, at the Evangelical Library, North London. The speakers were Garry Williams on 1662 and its immediate aftermath, Gary Brady on 1662 and the men who were ejected and Robert Oliver on 1689 and the toleration of dissent. A panel discussion closed the day considering 1662 and dissent today. The papers have been published in the Library magazine In writing. We will seek to make the papers available on the Library website soon. I'm afraid I haven't made much headway with Raymond Brown's book yet. I notice that Peter Adam's St Antholin lecture is in print. See here.
Saturday, 24 August 2013
A Pleasing Discovery
Mr Peter Ince, ejected from the rectory of Dunhead, in Wilts, after being silenced, clothed himself in the dress of a shepherd, and engaged himself in that capacity to a Mr Grove, that in this way he might obtain support for himself and his family. But not long after the year 1662, the wife of Mr Grove, who was a gentleman of great opulence, was taken dangerously ill, and Mr G sent for the parish minister to pray with her. When the messenger came, he was just going out with the hounds, and sent word that he would come when the hunt was over. Mr Grove expressed much resentment against the minister, for choosing rather to follow his diversion than attend his wife, under the circumstances in which she then lay, when one of the servants said, "Sir, our shepherd, if you will send for him, can pray, very well; we have often heard him at prayer in the field." Upon this he was immediately sent for, and Mr Grove asked him whether he ever did or could pray. The shepherd fixed his eyes upon him, and, with peculiar seriousness in his countenance, replied, "God forbid, sir, I should live one day without prayer." Hereupon he was desired to pray with the sick lady, which he did so pertinently to her case, with such fluency and fervency of devotion, as greatly to astonish the husband and all the family that were present. When they arose from their knees, Mr Grove said, "Your language and manner discover you to be a very different person from what your present appearance indicates. I conjure you to inform me who and what you are, and what were your views and situation in life before you came into my service." Whereupon he told him that he was one of the ministers that had been lately ejected from the Church, and that having nothing of his own left, he was content, for a livelihood, to submit to the honest and peaceful employment of tending sheep. Upon hearing this, Mr Grove said, "Then you shall be my shepherd" and immediately erected a meeting-house on his own estate, in which Mr Ince preached, and gathered a congregation of Dissenters. He is said to have been a good scholar, well skilled in the languages, especially in the Hebrew, and a good practical preacher. He had an admirable gift in prayer, and would, in days of special prayer, pour forth his soul with such spirituality, variety, fluency, and affection, that he was called praying Ince.
Comfort under a First Imprisonment
October, 1663, Mr Henry, Mr Steele, and some other of their friends, were taken up and brought prisoners to Hanmer, under pretence of some plot said to be on foot against the Government, and there they were kept under confinement some days, on which Mr Henry writes, "It is sweet being in any condition with a clear conscience. The sting of death is sin, and so of imprisonment also. It is the first time I was ever a prisoner, but, perhaps, may not be the last. We felt no hardship, but we know not what we may."
They were, after some days, examined by the deputy-lieutenant, charged with they knew not what, and so dismissed, finding verbal security to be forthcoming whenever they should be called for. Mr Henry returned to his house with thanksgiving to God, and a hearty prayer for his enemies, that God would forgive them.
The very next day after they were released, a great man in the country, at whose instigation they were brought into that trouble, died, as was said, of a drunken surfeit; "so that a man shall say, verily, there is a God that judgeth in the earth."