Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Lawrence on Thomas Goodwin

In his 2002 thesis Transmission and Transformation on Thomas Goodwin and the Puritan Project 1600-1704, TM Lawrence writes

Men who had been trained to preach and teach, men who had spent a lifetime developing the rhetorical tools necessary to persuade a nation to godliness, were by this act forbidden to do the very thing for which they lived. Adding injury to insult, the harsh sanctions of the Clarendon Code were soon enacted to enforce their silence. Cut off from both public life and public worship, Goodwin did not simply withdraw to the tranquil world of the pastor’s study. Rather, he was forced into the quietly furtive life of the nonconformist minister, managing his affairs in order to avoid confrontation with the authorities.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Bunhill Fields William Jenkyn 1613-1685


WILLIAM JENKYN, MA
The massive stone tomb of William Jenkyn will readily catch the visitor's eye, as it lies only a little to the southeast of Thomas Goodwin's. The original inscription on this tomb was in Latin, but was replaced by an English one, now undecipherable, which was as follows: —
"Sacred to the remains of William Jenkyn, Minister of the Gospel, who during the heavy storms of the Church was imprisoned in Newgate. Died a martyr there in the 72nd year of his age and the 52nd of his Ministry, 1684."
This "martyr of Jesus" was born at Sudbury, Suffolk, in the year 1612, and was blessed with godly parents. That his father was a good man is clear, for he had already sacrificed all prospects of wealth and honour rather than yield obedience to laws, rites and doctrines which he deemed unscriptural. Indeed, so exceedingly enraged was his own father at his turning from the path which led to the highest positions in the Church of England, that he disinherited him. This cruel action of William Jenkyn's grand-father, however, had no effect, for his father became the minister at Sudbury, where God was pleased to smile upon his labours. The mother of Jenkyn was a grand-daughter of noble John Rogers, who was burned to death in the reign of that poor misguided but cruel daughter of Rome known as "Bloody Mary." When William was still quite young his father died, and his mother somewhat reluctantly agreed to trust him to the care of his paternal grandfather, who was willing to educate him and to train him as a gentleman. After the lad had been with his grandfather for a few years, fearing that the godless habits of those with whom he lived would have an ill effect upon him, his mother, like a wise woman, took "William under her own care, and with her second husband trained him up after a godly manner. In 1626 arrangements were made for him to go into residence at Cambridge, the College chosen being that of St. John's, and his tutor was Anthony Burgess, who found him an apt pupil. Indeed, he made such progress in his studies that his fame spread abroad, but best of all his mind was exercised concerning his spiritual standing. His walk, conversation, and conduct alike proclaimed him to be a godly character, and he was mercifully preserved from falling into those outward sins of dissipation and vice which ruin so many young men. Having taken his MA degree, he accepted a lectureship at St Nicholas Acon, London, but soon after moved to Hythe in Essex, where he preached to a small congregation.
A number of his friends, being desirous of sitting under his ministry, persuaded him in 1641 to return to the Metropolis, where he became vicar of Christ Church, Newgate, and afterwards he was also appointed lecturer of St. Anne's, Blackfriars. He laboured with much earnestness and success, but his political views brought him into trouble at the overthrow of the Monarchy. So thankful were the people at being freed from the hateful yoke of the Stuarts, that Parliament appointed special thanksgiving services, but Jenkyn, whilst a stalwart Puritan, refused to take part in these. As a consequence he was banished from London, suspended from his ministerial office, and his benefices were sequestrated. He removed to Billericay, in Essex, for some six months ; then returned to London, only to be sent to the Tower for taking some little part in a foolish plot. On the advice of friends he afterward petitioned Parliament for his release, although it was a difficult matter for those interested in him to obtain his signature to the document. It is pleasing to relate that it was resolved to pardon Jenkyn "both for life and estate," and he was thus free not only to return to his home, but also to his ministry. Showing a very magnanimous spirit he refused to eject the Mr. Feak who had been appointed to Christ Church, but an early morning lectureship was arranged, and a large subscription was raised for this purpose. He also recommenced his lectures at Blackfriars, and on the death of Dr. Gouge he was chosen rector. When afterwards Mr. Feak was dismissed by the Government, Jenkyn was reappointed by the Governors of Bartholomew's Hospital, and thus once again he became vicar of Christ Church. Each Lord's Day he preached morning and evening to large auditories, for in addition to his parishioners, people flocked from all parts to listen to this prince of preachers. He possessed very considerable abilities, and was called by Baxter, **that elegant and sententious preacher." When the deceived and foolish people made another Stuart, Charles the Second, King of England, Jenkyn's troubles began again.
On Tuesday, January 2nd, 1661, he was compelled to appear before a special council, where he " was reproved for not praying for the King." When afterwards the Uniformity and Oxford Acts in 1662 and 1665 were passed, Jenkyn could not take the oaths that were required; and once again he sacrificed his living, retiring to Langley in Hertfordshire, where he preached to a few friends in private. When the King issued a Declaration of Indulgence in 1671, he returned to London, and a chapel was erected for him in Jewin Street, where once again great numbers of people sat under his ministry. The Indulgence was not confirmed by Parliament, and was withdrawn ; but although not immediately, Jenkyn's sorest trial was fast approaching. As was only to be expected, Jenkyn declined to conform, and from that time he was '* in dangers oft," for although the King decreed, this man and hundreds of others refused to have their voices silenced, and continued to preach under the most adverse circumstances. Meetings were held in secrecy as often as possible until September 2nd, 1684, when he was apprehended by soldiers, who broke in upon the numerous company which had met for prayer. With the exception of Jenkyn, all the ministers, amongst whom were Reynolds and Flavel, escaped, the latter stating that it was a piece of foolish vanity on a lady's part, combined with an act of politeness by the famous preacher, that cost him his liberty. In the rush for safety Jenkyn stood aside to allow this lady to pass before him, and her long train only too effectually prevented his hastening down the stairs and reaching a place of safety. The officers were delighted at their capture, and treated the aged and venerable servant of God in as cruel and rude a manner as possible, whilst the two magistrates, who were mere tools of the Court, were exceedingly violent and unjust. According to the law, by the payment of £40, the offender could obtain his release, but these creatures set all order at defiance, and committed the preacher, now 71 years of age, to Newgate Prison, where most severe restrictions were imposed. What mattered it that this much loved and highly respected man had suffered greatly for the Royalist cause ? What cared his persecutors that the foul air and stench of Newgate would surely poison him ? What anxiety did the statement of Jenkyn's physician that "his life was in danger from close confinement " cause the evil king and his counsellors ? What effect had all the pleadings of his friends and petitions of his followers ? Answers to these questions are found in the regulations by which Jenkyn was bound. He was not allowed to pray with anyone—not even his daughter. He was never permitted to leave the prison, although full security was offered, and neither was he granted the ordinary rights of a prisoner. It is not to be wondered that his physical health soon began to fail, although as his natural strength decayed his spiritual powers seemed to increase. On one occasion he exclaimed to some of his friends, " What a vast difference is there between this and my first imprisonment ! Then I was full of doubts and fears, of grief and anguish; and well I might, for going out of God's way and my own calling to meddle with things that did not belong to me. But now being found in the way of my duty, in my Master's business, though I suffer even to bonds, yet I am comforted beyond measure. The Lord sheds His love abroad in my heart ; I feel it ; I have the assurance of it." Some of his loving hearers giving way to tears, he exclaimed, "Why weep ye for me? Christ lives; He is my Friend ; a Friend born for adversity; a Friend that never dies. Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." On January 19th, 1684, after some four months' confinement, Jenkyn exchanged a prison cell for a heavenly mansion. In the former he suffered privation, persecution, hunger, thirst, and a thousand indignities, but in heaven all these things were done. The prison doors were kept securely fastened, but it is recorded of the Celestial City, " The gates of it shall not be shut at all by day ; for there shall be no night there."
For fifty years he had been a minister of the Gospel upon the earth, faithfully rebuking sin and setting forth Christ as the one hope of a sinner and the only way to the Father, but now he "sees Him as He is," and is joining in the song of the redeemed from among men.
It was not long ere the news of his death reached the court, and one courtier was bold enough to say to the King, "May it please your majesty, Jenkyn has got his liberty." With surprise the monarch replied, "Aye, who gave it to him ?" "A greater than your Majesty, the King of kings," was the explanation, and even so callous and perfidious a man was for once silent.
To Bunhill Fields the mortal remains of Jenkyn were taken, "his corpse being attended by at least one hundred and fifty coaches," and were there laid to rest. He was undoubtedly a martyr, for in Newgate, as he stated, "a man might be as effectually murdered as at Tyburn;" and his daughter boldly gave mourning rings with the inscription, "Mr. William Jenkyn murdered in Newgate." As a politician Jenkyn is not easily understood, for he seemed to change his views quickly and often, but this compared with eternal matters is of small moment.
His great work is an exposition upon the Epistle of Jude, which was preached in Christ Church. A revised and corrected edition was published in 1839, the editor being Mr. James Sherman, who was then the minister of the Surrey Chapel.
The extract given is from Jenkyn's sermon on the afternoon of August 17th, 1662, before he was ejected. The text was Exodus iii. 2-5.
"Lastly, to name no more, labour to preserve the holiness of God's true institutions, those things which are of divine consecration. What is human consecration without divine institution? The sabbath day is of divine institution, labour to keep it holy ; this is a holy day indeed, and this labour to keep your families from profaning' of ; but for other holy days, and holy things, they are much alike for holiness; the Lord's day is a holy day indeed, and for shame do not let your children gad abroad on this day. Truly I do verily believe, that though here be a great company of people in the congregation, yet they are but a handful in comparison of what are drinking in ale-houses, and walking in the fields, that one can hardly get home to their house for the crowd of the people that are going thither. For shame let not this be told in Gath, nor published in Askelon. What ! shall we stand up for the holiness of places, and yet oppose the holiness of the Lord's day, which God hath enjoined and instituted ? Oh! that the magistrates of London - oh! that England's king - oh! that England's Parliament would do something for the reformation of this, to oppose wickedness and profaneness which will otherwise bring upon us the judgements of Sodom and Gomorrah, and make us guilty and worthy of a thousand punishments. And labour by prayer in your families to overcome that flood of profaneness, which you cannot by your strength prevent. And then for the Lord's message and Word, that is a holy thing, and therefore love His messengers : the messengers of God delivering His message with fear and reverence, you are to hear them with the same fear, reverence, and resolution to be holy, as if Christ were present. And for the Word of God, it is not enough for you to have a choice sentence written upon the walls of your churches, but let God's law be written in your hearts and consciences, and practised in your lives, that all the world may see that you live as men dedicated to the true God, in all the duties of His ways and obedience. Many of these things might have been enlarged. What I have given you with the right hand, I pray you Christians, do not take with the left ; for if you do, you will make yourselves guilty of a double sin. First, because you do not obey the truth you hear. And secondly, for putting a wrong construction upon it. But I have better hopes of you, my beloved hearers, and hope that the Lord will be better unto your souls than His ministers, than His Word, or any thing else can be. God bless you and His ordinances, and discover His mind and will at this time to you."

Friday, 15 September 2017

Bunhill Fields Thankful Owen 1620-1681


(Same Tomb as Goodwin.)
Translation of Latin Inscription.
Thankful Owen, STB. Here mingles his sacred dust with that of Goodwin; to whom in life he was most dear. He scarce survived an hour the finishing of a Preface which he had been writing to that great work of Goodwin's on the Epistle to the Ephesians, the publication of which had fallen to his care. Dying with the same calmness with which he had lived, without a groan, save of the heart to Christ, on the 1st April, 1681, in the 63rd year of his age.
Thankful Owen was born, according to one account, at Taplow in Buckinghamshire, but another authority states that he was born in London. While quite a youth he had a remarkable preservation from drowning, for as he was swimming near Oxford he sank twice under the water. He received his education chiefly at Exeter College, Oxford, where his tutor was a Puritan. He became a man of much learning, and was greatly admired for the easy fluency of his language and compositions, and for the quite exceptional purity of his Latin style. He joined the Independent Church, afterwards becoming one of their preachers, and he was also chosen Proctor of the University in 1650, whilst in the same year he became President of St. John's College.
At the Restoration he was ejected by the Commissioners and, like Goodwin, removed to London. Here he lived very quietly, preaching as often as he could and steadfastly maintaining his nonconformity. On the death of Goodwin he was chosen to succeed him, but was only pastor for a fortnight, as he died quite suddenly at his house in Hatton Garden. His last labour was, as stated in the Inscription, to write a Preface for Goodwin's work on the Ephesians, and he had almost finished a work of his own, entitled "Imago Imagins" which was designed to show that Rome Papal was simply an imitation of Rome Pagan. Dr. John Owen said of Thankful Owen that he had not left his fellow behind him for learning, religion, and good humour.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Bunhill Fields Thomas Goodwin 1600-1679


The tomb of Thomas Goodwin ... lies slightly to the south-east of Wavel's. During a terrific thunderstorm a flash of lightning split the top, and all that can now be deciphered is, "Thomas Goodwin, D.D."

Inscription
Here lies the body of the Rev. Thomas Goodwin, D.D., born at Rolesby, in the county of Norfolk. He had a large and familiar acquaintance with ancient, and above all, with ecclesiastical history. He was exceeded by none in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. He was at once blessed with a rich invention, and a solid and exact judgement. He carefully compared together the different parts of holy writ, and with a marvellous felicity discovered the latent sense of the Divine Spirit who indited them. None ever entered deeper into the mysteries of the gospel, or more clearly unfolded them for the benefit of others. The matter, form, discipline, and all that relates to the constitution of a true Cliurch of Christ, he traced out with an uncommon sagacity, if he was not rather the first Divine who thoroughly investigated them. He was eminently qualified, by the light of sacred truth, to pacify troubled consciences, to dispel the clouds of mistake, and to remove needless scruples from perplexed and bewildered minds. In knowledge, wisdom, and eloquence, he was a truly Christian pastor. In his private discourses, as well as in his public ministry, he edified numbers of souls, whom he had first won by Christ ; till having finished his appointed course both of service and sufferings, in the cause of his Divine Master, he gently fell asleep in Jesus. His writings already published, and what are now preparing for publication (the noblest monuments of this great muse's praise), will diffuse his name in a more fragrant odour than that of the richest perfume, to flourish in those far distant ages, when this marble, inscribed with his just honour, shall have dropt into dust. He died February 23, 1679, in the 80th year of his age.

Dr. Thomas Goodwin, one of the most eminent of the Puritan Divines, was born on October 5th, 1600. His parents, wishing him to be devoted to the ministry, had him educated in a careful and thorough manner, and being blessed with good natural abilities he so improved by diligent study as to become noted even at the early age of thirteen. He had strong impressions of religion upon his mind from the time he was six years old, but when at Christ College, Cambridge, to which he was sent in 1613, he was much engrossed in ambitious designs, and his whole desire was to obtain high offices and the good word of man. When nineteen years of age he removed to Katherine Hall, where his tutor was the famous Puritan, Dr. Sibbes. " On Monday, the 2nd of October, 1620, in the afternoon," while going from Katherine Hall to enjoy himself with his former friends of Christ College, he heard a bell toll for a funeral, and one of his companions, saying there was to be a sermon, pressed him to hear it. The preacher was Dr. Bambridge, who was accounted a witty man, and though his remarks, based on Luke xix. 41, 42, were quite ordinary on this occasion, they made an impression upon the mind of Goodwin. Instead of going on with his companions he returned to his college, having a most powerful sense of sin and a dread of its consequences. It pleased God in a little time gently to speak peace to his soul, and he now saw very clearly how vague and empty had been his previous profession. He had a very real yet peculiar evidence of a true conversion, for he was led to search out the sins which he had loved most, and was by grace enabled to gain the victory over them.
In 1628 he was appointed lecturer at Trinity Church, Cambridge, in spite of the opposition of the Bishop, but in 1634, his conscience being disturbed with the terms of Conformity, he resigned his preferment and left the University.
When referring to this memorable event in after years Goodwin said:
"I freely renounced for Christ, when God converted me, all those designs of pride, and vain-glory, and advancement of myself, upon which my heart was so strongly set that no persuasions of men, nor any worldly considerations, could have diverted me from the pursuit of them. No, it was the power of God alone that prevailed with me to do it. It was He alone that made me willing to live in the meanest and most afflicted condition, so that I might serve Him in all godly sincerity. I cheerfully parted with all for Christ, and He hath made me abundant compensation, not only in the comforts and joys of His love, which are beyond comparison above all other things, but even in this world. What love and esteem I have had among good men, He gave me. He alone made my ministry in the gospel acceptable, and blessed it with success, to the conversion and spiritual good and comfort of many souls."
Goodwin was now a marked man, and Archbishop Laud persecuting him, he left England and went to Holland in 1689. Here he enjoyed liberty of conscience, and became pastor of the English Church at Arnheim. He, however, returned to England during the Long Parliament, and became minister of an Independent Congregation meeting in Thames Street. Being chosen a member of the Assembly of Divines, which met at Westminster in 1643, he took a leading part in the deliberations, and won high esteem by his ability, modesty and meekness. He afterwards published his notes of these transactions, and was himself one of the Dissenting ministers.
His first marriage took place in 1638, his second in 1649, and he was very happy in both. The great Protector, who held him in high favour, appointed him in 1654 to the Presidency of Magdalen College, Oxford. He formed a church in this university town, and his members numbered amongst others, Thankful Owen, Theophilus Gale and Stephen Charnock. Soon after the Restoration he retired from the college and removed once more to London, many of his fellow members and friends following him. Another Independent Church was formed in Fetter Lane, and he preached here until his death.
During the Great Fire of 1666 he lost a large portion of his library, and he felt this blow to be a very severe one. He, however, expressed his thankfulness that his works of divinity were for the most part saved, and that those lost were in the main books of human knowledge. He continued to preach in spite of the Conventicle and Five Mile Acts, and was for the most part unmolested. Except when preaching, he lived a very retired life, dividing his time between prayer, reading and meditation. He had his favourite authors, such as Augustine and Calvin, but his son says,
"The Scriptures were what he most studied. ... The love and free grace of God, the excellencies and glories of our Lord Jesus Christ, were the truths in which his mind soared with the greatest delight."
The last scene of all was also described by his son as follows : — 

"In February, 1679, a fever seized him, which in a few days put an end to his life. In all the violence of it, he discoursed with that strength of faith and assurance of Christ's love, with that holy admiration of free grace, with that joy in believing, and such thanksgivings and praises, as he extremely moved and affected all that heard him. That excellent man, Mr. Collins, praying earnestly for him, offered up this petition, ' That God would return into his bosom all those comforts which he had by his ministry of free grace poured into so many distressed souls.' My dear father felt this prayer answered in the abundant comforts and joys with which he was filled. He rejoiced in the thought that he was dying, and going to have a full and uninterrupted communion with God. 'I am going,' said he, ' to the Three Persons with whom I have had communion: They have taken me; I did not take Them. I shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye; all my lusts and corruptions I shall be rid of, which I could not be here ; those croaking toads will fall oft' in a moment.' And mentioning those great examples of faith, Heb. xi., 'All these,' said he, 'died in faith. I could not have imagined that I should ever have had such a measure of faith in this hour ; no, I could never have imagined it. My bow abides in strength. Is Christ divided ? No, I have the whole of His righteousness ; I am found in Him, not in mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but in the righteousness which is of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Christ cannot love me better than He doth : I think I cannot love Christ better than I do ; I am swallowed up in God.' " Directing his speech to his two sons, he exhorted them to value the privilege of the covenant. 'It hath taken hold on me,' said he; 'my mother was a holy woman ; she spake nothing diminishing of it. It is a privilege cannot be valued enough, nor purchased with a great sum of money,' alluding to the words of the chief captain to Paul, Acts xxii. 28. Then he exhorted them to be careful that they did nothing to provoke God to reject them. 'Now,' said he, 'I shall be ever with the Lord.' With this assurance of faith and fullness of joy, his soul left the world, and went to see and enjoy the reality of that blessed state of glory, which in a discourse on that subject he had so well demonstrated. He died February, 1679, and in the eightieth year of his age."

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bunhill Fields Richard Wavel 1633-1705

Light tells us that a few rows eastward the previous graves he describes, in about the centre of this section of the ground, is the small, fast-decaying headstone of Richard Wavel, BA The words are practically obliterated, but the stone will not be very difficult to identify.
Inscription: This adjourns to the family vault of the late Rev. RlCHARD WAVEL.
Here is the resting-place of one of the victims of the Act of Uniformity. He was born in the Isle of Wight on April 3rd, 1633, and after he had taken bis degree of BA he studied Divinity under the tuition of the Rev. W. Reyner, at Egham, in Surrey. He afterwards married Mr. Reyner's step-daughter, and constantly preached in the church at Egham. When the Act of Uniformity came into force he was compelled by his conscience to sever his connection with the Established Church, although many tempting offers of good livings were made to him. For a time he preached privately at Egham, in his own house, but was compelled to cease, as stern measures were taken against him. He afterwards became minister at Pinners Hall, and on doing so, ''told his people that he would venture his person if they would venture their purses; which they did, and they were put to no small expense by it." It is recorded that "his preaching was plain, and tended very much to exalt Christ, and the grace of God in him; and yet it was his dying advice to his church that they would choose one to succeed him of whom they should have some ground to hope that he would preach Christ crucified more than he had done. He excelled in prayer, more especially upon particular occasions, to which he would apply Scripture expressions with great propriety. It was a most frequent petition in his prayer, which he would express with a warmth and relish that was very remarkable, 'Father, glorify Thy name; Father, glorify Thy Son.' During the time of his last illness, for a fortnight before his death, he enjoyed a continued serenity of mind, expressing to those about him his desire to depart, and rejoicing that his work was finished. To a minister who visited him, telling him that he had suffered much for his Master, Christ, his answer was, 'He owes me nothing.' As he sat in his chair, he lifted up his hands and blessed his children; and as he was going to bed died in his chair, December 19th, 1705, in the 72nd year of his age."

Bunhill Fields Theophilus Gale 1628-1678


Light says that Gale's grave is a little nearer the path than Rowe's tomb, and on the low headstone there is to be seen the inscription: —
THEOPHILUS Gale. Born 1628. Died 1678.
Mr. Theophilus Gale was the son of Dr. Thomas Gale, Prebendary of Exeter. He was born in 1628, and in 1650 he was unanimously chosen Fellow of his College, in preference to many others who were his seniors. He frequently preached at the University, and also enjoyed a considerable reputation as a tutor - Bishop Hopkins, who always paid him very great respect, being one of his pupils. During the Commonwealth, in 1657, he was called to the Cathedral at Winchester, where he remained as a preacher till the Restoration, when he was ejected.
As he also lost his Fellowship, he went to France in September, 1662, as the tutor to the two sons of Lord Wharton, and stayed for two years at Caen. He left his pupils there and returned to England, reaching the Metropolis just as it was being devastated by the Great Fire. He was much alarmed and distressed when told that the house was burned in which he had left his MSS, amongst these being his famous work, ''The Court of the Gentiles." These MSS represented the labour of twenty years, but after he had given up all hope, he received the welcome news that certain of his goods had been preserved. He was told that amongst the things saved was a desk, which a friend who, placing no value upon it, had intended leaving behind, but having just enough room, he placed it upon the cart to make up the load. In this desk were his much loved papers, and Gale was thus enabled to complete his work. Upon Mr. John Rowe's death he was chosen as joint pastor with Mr. Lee, and it is recorded that he was "a man of great reading, and an exact philologist, and philosophist, and a learned and industrious person."
He died of consumption in 1678, when only 49 years of age, leaving all his estate in the charge of Nonconformist ministers for the purpose of educating poor Dissenters.
Wikipedia
Gale was born at Kingsteignton, Devon, the son of Bridget Gale (née Walrond) and Theophilus Gale DD (d. 1639), vicar of Kingsteignton and prebendary of Exeter Cathedral). Gale was educated by a private tutor, before attending grammar school, and being admitted to the University of Oxford, entered Magdalen Hall in 1647 as a commoner. Magdalen Hall was shortly to be the home of nonconforming students: William Conway, John Cudmore, Joseph Maisters and, according to Edmund Calamy, a 'Mr. Sprint'. In August 1648 Henry Wilkinson was appointed as Principal; he was a major figure in Civil War and Protectorate Oxford, lecturing at Carfax Church between 10 October 1642 and 16 June 1662.
Gale became a demy (funded scholar) of Magdalen College following the Parliamentary Visitation of 1648. Here he took his BA in 1649, becoming a Fellow and Tutor of Magdalen the following year and being awarded MA in 1652. He was then appointed lecturer in Logic (1652) and was later to become a Junior Dean of Arts (1657) and a Senior Dean of Arts (1658). One of his tutorial pupils was Ezekiel Hopkins. In 1657 he had also been appointed a preacher at Winchester Cathedral, alongside such luminaries as Humphrey Ellis, perhaps Faithful Teate (although this is difficult to substantiate) and George Lawrence (Chaplain of St. Cross Hospital). Magdalen itself was home to some of the most influential radical theologians of the day, including Thomas Goodwin (President), Henry Hickman (Fellow), Zachary Mayne (Fellow) and John Gipps (Chaplain). Gale's Congregationalism made him a natural ally of Goodwin, and may also have led to an association with John Owen, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford and President of Christ Church for much of this period.
Under the Act for Restoration of Ministers (1660) many Puritans and other radicals lost their jobs. Gale lost his place at Winchester Cathedral, and also was forced to resign his Fellowship at Magdalen. The Act of Uniformity (1662) required subscription on oath to the articles of the newly restored Church of England and a faithful following of the newly revised Book of Common Prayer (1662) in services for all clergy and teachers. These stipulations permanently barred Gale from University teaching, government employment and the Church of England Ministry.
Gale was fortunate in his contacts. Philip Wharton had been a supporter of Parliament in the Civil War and had built up a network of ministerial friends, including John Owen, Thomas Manton, William Bates and John Howe. Wharton, a lay member of the Westminster Assembly in the 1650s, continued an influential dissenting Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire through the Restoration period. He had connections in the United Provinces and France. In 1662 he offered Gale £40 a year as tutor to his sons, a position which enabled Gale to travel to the French Huguenot College at Caen and meet other scholars including Samuel Bochart. Gale's strictness as a teacher offended his patron and he was dismissed in July 1664. After taking the opportunity to travel for a few months, he returned to England in early 1665 and was back at Wharton's Quainton estate before the end of the year. The latter portion of his life Gale passed in London as assistant to John Rowe, an Independent minister who had charge of a church in Holborn, active in the lull of efforts against conventicles after the Great Fire. Gale settled at Newington Green and took pupils: John Ashwood of Peckham, and the two sons of John Rowe, Thomas (who succeeded Gale as minister) and Benoni. Gale succeeded Rowe in 1677, and died in the following year. He is buried in Bunhill Fields burial ground, where his headstone is believed to be the earliest surviving monument.
Gale worked in the 1660s on manuscripts for a large-scale and erudite theoretical work of intellectual history; a hint in Grotius's De Veritate (i. 16) gave him the idea of the derivation of all ancient learning and philosophy from the Hebrew scriptures. He therefore traced European languages to the Hebrew language, and all the theologies, sciences, politics, and literature of pagan antiquity to a Hebrew tradition. In a similar way he dealt with the origin of all philosophies. He also accounted for the errors of pagan philosophy and Catholic divinity by the theory of corruption by successive apostasies from a divine original. Constructively he proposed a reformed Platonism, and tried to rescue the Calvinistic doctrine of predetermination from difficulties. Work left in store escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666. Gale's major work, The Court of the Gentiles, taking its name from the Court of the Gentiles in the Second Temple, appeared in parts in 1669, 1671 and 1676. It takes the form of a storehouse of miscellaneous philosophical learning. It resembles the Intellectual System of Ralph Cudworth, though many regarded it as inferior.
Gale's endeavour (based on a hint of Grotius) was to provide evidence that the foundation of European Christian philosophy is a distorted reproduction of Biblical truths. Just as Cudworth referred the Democritean doctrine of atoms to Moses as the original author, so Gale tries to show that the various systems of Greek thought may be traced back to Middle Eastern and South Asian sources. The Court of the Gentiles was attacked by the church and referred to as being chaotic and unsystematic. Biblical scholars claimed it lacked discrimination. Each of the four books is broken into multiple sections and the information organised into dozens of chapters. Most pages have dozens of references to previous authors, a flow of references woven into the text rather than being presented in footnotes.
Works
1669: The True Idea of Jansenisme, London
1669: The Court of the Gentiles, Oxford, 1669, 1670, 1671, 1672
1671: The Life and Death of Thomas Tregosse Late Minister of the Gospel, at Milar and Mabe in Cornwal [sic], London
1671 Theophilie: or A Discourse of the Saints Amitie with God in Christ, London
1672: The Anatomie of Infidelitie, London 1673: The Life and Death of Mr. John Rowe of Crediton in Devon, London 1673: Idea Theologiae, London
1673: A Discourse of Christ's Coming, London
1676: Philosophia Generalis, London
1676: The Court of the Gentiles. Part II., London
1677: The Court of the Gentiles. Part III., London
1677: The Court of the Gentiles. Part IV., London, 1677, 1678, 1682
1678: Dedication to William Strong's A Discourse of the Two Covenants, London
1679: Christ's Tears for Jerusalems Unbelief and Ruine, London
Ars Sciendi (1681) by T. G. is now attributed to Thomas Gowan.

Bunhill Fields John, Thomas And Benoni Rowe

Light tells us that near Rosewell's tomb is another.
The original inscriptions were as follows: — 
Here lies the body of John Rowe, some time preacher in the Abbey of Westminster, who died October 12th, in the 52nd year of his age. Anno, 1677. Under this stone is the body of Mr. THOMAS ROWE, the eldest son of Mr. John Rowe; late minister of the Gospel in London. He departed this life the 18th day of August, in the year of our Lord 1705, in the 49th year of his age. Here also lies the body of Mr. Benoni Rowe, minister of the Gospel in London, who departed this life the 30th day of March, in the year of our Lord 1706, in the 49th year of his age. (The present stone was erected by Walter W. Law, Esq., of Briar Cliffe Manor, New York, on the 11th February, 1910.)
John Rowe 1626-1677
Mr. John Rowe was born in the year 1626 at Crediton in Devonshire, and after spending some time at Cambridge he removed to Oxford in 1648. He was appointed to a Fellowship in Corpus Christi College, and became a lecturer at Witney in Oxfordshire, but afterwards was engaged in the work of the ministry at Tiverton. In 1654 Mr. Rowe was appointed to succeed William Strong as minister of the Independent Church, which met in Westminster Abbey during the Commonwealth. His congregation was quite a remarkable one, as numbers of the leading Puritans were constant attendants upon his ministry. On the 14th March, 1659, he was appointed by Act of Parliament one of the Approvers of Ministers, but at the Restoration in 1660 he was ejected from his pastorate at Westminster Abbey. After the Act of Uniformity he preached privately as often as he could, with his old. people gathered round him. He was noted for his great gravity and piety, whilst "his sermons were judicious and well studied, fit for the audiences of men of the best quality in those days." It is interesting to notice, too, the words with which he closed his last sermon: "We should not desire to continue longer in this world than to glorify God, to finish our work, and to be ready to say, 'Farewell, Time; welcome, blessed Eternity; even so, come. Lord Jesus.'" One of his other expressions when preaching this sermon was, "that he knew no other bottom whereon to lay the stress of his salvation, than the incarnation and atonement of the Son of God."
Wikipedia confirms his Crediton birth and says he was at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and Oxford, where he attended New Inn Hall. It mentions his 1653 book Tragi-comoedia. It took an incident in his parish of Witney as a judgement on those attending dramatic productions. The floor of an upper room of The White Hart Inn collapsed during a performance by travelling players of Mucedorus. It notes that in October 1656 he preached to Parliament, then giving thanks for a naval victory in the Caribbean. In 1659 at the State Funeral of John Bradshaw, the President of the Court that had condemned Charles I, he gave the eulogy. Also that he established a church in Holborn, London, where he was assisted by Theophilus Gale.
Thomas Rowe 1657–1705
Mr. Thomas Rowe was chiefly noted for the number of distinguished pupils who attended his Academy, amongst them being Daniel Neal, the author of "The History of the Puritans," Doctor Isaac Watts and Mr. Samuel Say, all of whom are buried in Bunhill. Thomas Rowe was the son of John Rowe, and was born about the year 1657. He had quite a remarkable mind, and having a great desire for knowledge he soon became one of the best instructed men of his times. Soon after his father's death he accepted the oversight of the congregation which was then removed to Girdler's Hall, Basinghall Street. His predecessor as a teacher was none other than Theophilus Gale, whose body is resting so close to his own. Dr. Watts was not only a pupil, but also a member of his church. The Revolution of 1688 naturally made a great difference to Mr. Rowe, and considerable prosperity attended his latter days, but his end was very sudden. He was riding through the City when he was seized with a fit, and falling from his horse near the Monument immediately expired. This took place on the 18th August, 1705, when he was only in his 49th year.
Wikipedia makes clear that he succeeded Gale, both as pastor of the independent church in Holborn and as tutor in the academy at Newington Green adn says it was he who moved his congregation to a meeting-house at Girdlers' Hall, Basinghall Street, and took his academy successively to Clapham and, about 1687, to Little Britain. It is as a tutor, especially in philosophy, that he made his mark as an early adopter of new ideas. He was the first to desert the traditional textbooks, introducing his pupils, about 1680, to what was known as ‘free philosophy.’ Rowe was a Cartesian at a time when the Aristotelian philosophy was still dominant in the older schools of learning; but while in physics he adhered to Descartes against the rising influence of Isaac Newton, he also became one of the earliest exponents of John Locke. Students included John Evans, D.D., Henry Grove, Josiah Hort, John Hughes the poet, Jeremiah Hunt, D.D., Daniel Neal, and Isaac Watts. Rowe was a Calvinist in theology, but few of his pupils adhered to the same system without some modification. In 1699 he became one of the Tuesday lecturers at Pinners' Hall. He died suddenly on 18 August 1705.
Benoni Rowe 1658-1706
Benoni Rowe was also son to John Rowe, and was the younger brother of Thomas Rowe. The date of his birth was about 1668, and the early days of his ministry began when Dissenters were under a dark cloud. Through the reigns of Charles II and James II he was sorely persecuted, and his services were often disturbed. After the Prince of Orange ascended the throne Benoni Rowe moved to Epsom, and stayed there about a year, when he accepted an invitation to become the pastor of the Independent Church in Fetter Lane. Amongst other memorable services in which he took part was that of the ordination of Isaac Watts, at which his brother Thomas preached a sermon from the text, "I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding" (Jer. iii. 15). He died just about seven months after Thomas, and was buried in the same vault, where their father's body had been placed some years previously.
Wikipedia makes Benoni brother-in-law to Thomas, husband to his sister Sarah. Born in London, and educated for the ministry, his first known settlement was at Epsom, Surrey, about 1689. He succeeded Stephen Lobb in 1699 as pastor of the independent church in Fetter Lane and died on 30 March 1706. He left two sons: Thomas (1687–1715), husband of Elizabeth Rowe; and Theophilus.

Bunhill Fields Thomas Rosewell 1630-1692

In his book on Bunhill Fields Alfred W Light tells that turning the back on Bunyan's tomb, and leaving the path to the left, the visitor will see, about five rows of stones ahead but nearer the railings, the now "double " headstone of Thomas Rosewell. On the original stone there was a Latin inscription, of which the translation is given as follows: — 
Here lieth the body of that celebrated divine, Thomas Rosewell, M.A. A man not more eminent for his learning than for his piety and modesty; a preacher distinguished for judgment, eloquence, and study ; a most diligent and skilful interpreter of the sacred volume. Who after many labours, and through the iniquities of the times, and many bitter sufferings, which for the sake of Christ be bore with the greatest fortitude, calmly departed this life at Rotherhithe, February 15th, in the 62nd year of his age, and of Christ, 1692.
There is now this inscription: — 
Thomas Rosewell, Nonconformist Minister, Rotherhithe. Died 1692. Tried for High Treason under the infamous Jefferies. See "State Trials, 1684.
Mr. Rosewell was born at Dunkerton, near Bath, on May 3rd, 1630, and his mother and father both died before he was ten years old. He and his sister had a considerable fortune bequeathed to them, but this was dissipated whilst living with an uncle during their minority. When about 16 years of age he began to sit under the ministry of Mr. Matthew Haviland, and to his preaching Rosewell always confessed that he owed his conversion. After spending some time under a tutor in London, he removed in March, 1674, to Pembroke College, Oxford, where he prosecuted his studies under Dr. Langley. He entered the ministry of the Church of England, and was presented to the rectory at Rhode in Somersetshire, in 1653, and in 1657 to Sutton Mandeville in Wilts. He was vicar here in 1662 when the Act of Uniformity came into force, and was one of the noble men who suffered ejectment then. He now became tutor to the son of Lady Hungerford, but in 1674 he was elected minister of the Presbyterian congregation meeting at Rotherhithe. In spite of much persecution he continued preaching, but he was tried for high treason in 1685. Daniel Neal gives an account of this in his History as follows: —
"Jefferies, now Lord Chief Justice of England, who was scandalously vicious, and drunk every day, besides a drunkenness of fury in his temper that looked like madness, was prepared for any dirty work the court should put him upon. September 23rd, Mr. Thomas Rosewell, the Dissenting minister at Rotherhithe, was imprisoned in the Gate House, Westminster, for high treason; and a Bill was found against him at the Quarter Sessions, upon which he was tried on November 8th at the King's Bench Bar, by a Surrey jury, before Lord Chief Justice Jefferies, and his brethren (viz.) Withins, Holloway, and Walcot. He was indicted for the following expressions in his sermon of September 14th:
"That the King could not cure the King's evil, but the priests and prophets by their prayers could heal the griefs of the people; that we had had two wicked Kings (meaning tke present King and his father), whom we can resemble to no other person but to the most wicked Jeroboam; and that if they (meaning his hearers), would stand to their principles, he did not doubt, but they should overcome their enemies (meaning the King), as in former times, with rams' horns, broken platters, and a stone in a sling.'
The witnesses were three infamous women, who swore to the words without the innuendos; but they were laden with the guilt of many perjuries already, and such of them as could be found afterwards, were convicted, and the chief of them pilloried before the Exchange. The trial lasted seven hours, and Mr. Rosewell behaved with all the decency and respect to the Court that could be expected, and made a defence that was applauded by most of the hearers. He said it was impossible the witnesses should remember, and be able to pronounce so long a period, when they could not so much as tell the text, nor anything else in the sermon, besides the words they had sworn. Several who heard the sermon and writ it in shorthand, declared they heard no such words. Mr. Rosewell offered his own notes to prove it, but no regard was had to them. The women could not prove (says Burnet), by any one circumstance, that they were at the meeting; or that any person saw them there on that day; the words they swore were so gross, that it was not to be imagined that any man in his wits would express himself so, before a mixed assembly: yet Jefferies urged the matter with his usual vehemence. He laid it for a foundation, that all preaching at conventicles was treasonable, and that this ought to dispose the jury to believe any evidence upon that head, so the jury brought him in guilty; upon which (says the bishop), there was a shameful rejoicing; and it was now thought, all conventicles must be suppressed, when such evidence could be received against such a defence. But when the words came to be examined by men learned in the law, they were found not to be treason by any Statute. So Mr. Rosewell moved in arrest of judgement, and though it was doubtful, whether the motion was proper on this foundation after the verdict, yet the King was so out of countenance at the accounts he heard of the witnesses, that he gave orders to yield to it; and in the end he was pardoned. The Court lost a great deal of reputation by this trial, for besides that Rosewell made a strong defence, he proved that he had always been a loyal man even in Cromwell's days, that he prayed constantly for the king in his family, and that in his sermons he often insisted upon the obligations to loyalty."
The manner of his escape was quite unusual. For once a Dissenter who had been condemned to death, and who was bitterly hated by Jefferies, did not suffer the full penalty of the law. Sir John Talbot, who had been present at the trial, went to the King, and speaking quite plainly, told him, "that he had seen the life of a gentleman and a scholar dependent on such evidence as he would not hang his dog on." He also said, "Sir, if your Majesty suffers this man to die, we are none of us safe in our houses." Just at this moment Jefferies, delighted with what he had done, burst into the room, and with much joyful pleasure told the King what a good deed he had accomplished, and what great service he had rendered to his Master. The surprise of Jefferies may be imagined when Charles II told him that Rosewell should not die, but that he must by some means make a way of escape. This was most unpalatable to Jefferies, who was simply thirsting for the blood of Rosewell, but a new trial was ordered, and Counsel was assigned the condemned man in order to plead the insufficiency of the indictment in arrest of judgment. There was an adjournment until the following term, and in the meantime the King granted Rosewell a pardon and he was discharged.
The prosecution of Rosewell was particularly unjust in that whilst a strong Puritan, he always had a very kindly feeling towards the Stuart family. While he was a schoolboy at Bath during the Civil War, the King's army seized the town, and the school was broken up. It was about this time that while he was taking a walk from home, he saw Charles I in a field, sitting at dinner under a tree with a few persons around him. This occurrence always disposed him to be loyal to the Royal Family, but it in no way influenced Jefferies in his decision.
His death took place on February 14th, 1692, in the 62nd year of his age, so that he outlived his trial about seven years.
Wikipedia article here.

Bunhill Fields

Alfred W Light wrote of Bunhill Fields
To the mere passer-by, this sacred plot in the City Road, London, is just an ordinary disused burying ground. To the tired factory girl and weary mechanic it is a place in which to rest during the dinner hour. To the builder it presents itself as a splendid site for factories and offices. To crowds of people it is a short cut from the busy City Road to the quieter Bunhill Row. To popish clerics it is almost as a plague spot that should be carefully avoided. To a lover of liberty of conscience, of freedom of thought, of an open Bible and of spiritual religion, it is, however, hallowed ground, for beneath its turf there are resting thousands of brave men and women who counted not their lives dear unto them, but who "contended earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." The principles of Scriptural Dissent are here magnified, whilst thoughts of cruel and wicked persecutions by spiritually ignorant clerics, magistrates, and evil princes crowd into the mind. Here are buried some 120,000 persons. Many of these died in poverty and distress, some even within prison walls, whilst had they been willing to comply with the regulations and to accept blindly the teachings of such popish bishops as Laud, many would have occupied positions of national distinction.
The following account is chiefly compiled from two publications of the City Corporation, viz., "Bunhill Fields Burial Ground; Proceedings in reference to its Preservation," and the Official Guide. The former, which contains very important correspondence between the City Fathers and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, was pubhshed in 1867, and is now somewhat rare; the latter can still be obtained of the keepers at the Grounds.
The history here given is of great importance, and there is true cause for thankfulness that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, into whose hands the valuable Finsbury estate, of which Bunhill Fields is a portion, fell in 1867, had a wealthy and powerful body to contend against. Amongst the City Fathers during the critical period there were Sir Charles Reed and others who boldly championed the cause of righteousness and justice. In the old days, at the original entrance, there was a stone with the following inscription: "This churchyard was enclosed with a brick wall, at the sole charge of the City of London, in the Mayoralty of Sir John Lawrence, Kt., A.D. 1665; and afterwards the gates hereof were built and finished in the Mayoralty of Sir Thomas Bludworth, Kt., A.D. 1666." Strangely enough it has been completely lost.
This takes us back to the days of the Great Plague and Fire of London, although it is probable that centuries before there was a Saxon burying place at Bon-hill or Bone-hill Fields.
The whole district was swampy, and at various spots archers, apprentices, and the soldiers practised with their bows, staves, and other weapons. From this place many had in the past gone to fight the French at Cressy, Poitiers, and other famous battles; and here the City train bands brought themselves to a state of proficiency by zealously and constantly engaging in their more peaceful combats.
The land itself was originally part of a great church property, but in the fifteenth century the Corporation took it over at a yearly rent of twenty shillings. For this sum the Lord Mayor was granted "for himself and for his successors all his right and claim" to the property, which was considered to be a grant of the land in perpetuity. There must have been, however, some flaw in the provisions, as in 1653 the Corporation obtained a lease for ninety years at a rental of £29 13s. 4d.
In 1561 a most terrible thunderstorm and tempest burst over London, and in every quarter houses were wrecked, whilst the lightning struck and seriously damaged St. Paul's Cathedral. Indeed a portion of the Cathedral was actually destroyed whilst the terrified citizens for the most part gazed helplessly on. To repair the noble structure and to re-lead the roof was a great undertaking, towards which the Corporation provided about twenty tons of lead. In return for this two further leases of seventy years each were granted, which gave the City possession for 215 years, and this was naturally considered to be very little short of a freehold.
During the Commonwealth, when the church lands were sold, the Corporation bought the Finsbury estate and thus became Lords of the manor. As such they paid no rents, but when some ten years later the Stuart family in the person of Charles II regained the throne of England, all the properties returned to the Church. It was quite in keeping with the character of the new king and of the ecclesiastical authorities that there was no repayment of the purchase money, so the City suffered the loss of their money and property. The land was now put to some use in order to produce income, and De Foe is of opinion that the Great Plague Pit was at or near this spot. The City burying places were soon filled, for persons were dying at the rate of eight or ten thousand every week.
It is stated in "Maitland's Survey" (1739) concerning this land that "Part whereof at present denominated Tindal's or the Dissenters' burial-ground, was by the Mayor and Corporation of London, in the year 1665, set apart and consecrated as a common cemetery for the interment of such corpses as could not have room in the burial-grounds in the dreadful year of the pestilence. However, it not being made use of on that occasion, the said Tindal took a lease thereof, and converted it into a burial-ground."
The ground is marked for a time on the maps by the name of Tindal instead of the Bon-hill Fields. As the books of the City were destroyed by fire there is no record of it earlier than 1698, but a stone was found on which was the name of Debora Warr, the date being November 10th, 1623. It is thought probable that this is the date of the woman's death, but that the body was re-interred. There was another, however, of "Joannes Seaman, natus 6 Feb. 1665, ob Jul. 23, 1665," and this is most likely to be the more ancient. In turn, Bunhill Fields was in the possession of a James Browne, and a certain Elizabeth Fetherstonhaugh, but about 1741 the Corporation took sole charge once again, and by this time the revenue was very considerable.
Special attention was drawn to the Finsbury Estate in the Parliament of 1766, and there were proposals to make some use of the lands "now the resort of idle and disorderly persons." These arrangements were far reaching, but in all the plans it is clearly shown that the burying-ground was to remain untouched. Merchants' houses and homes for professional men were to be erected, and the City authorities entered without delay into negotiations with Prebendary Wilson. The official committee reported to the Common Council that they had "agreed with the Prebendary to join in an application to Parliament for an Act to enable the Prebendary and his successors to grant a lease to the City of the Prebendal Estate, from Christmas last, for a term of ninety-nine years, renewable at the expiration of seventy -three years by adding fourteen years, to make up a term of forty years, and afterwards every fourteen years in like manner for ever." In some extraordinary way a clause to this effect (although in the Bill) was omitted from the Act, but it has not been discovered how this unfortunate accident occurred. It is obvious that the renewal of the lease every fourteen years for ever was to be a vital point in the agreement, but at the appointed time no renewal did take place or was ever allowed to do so. The result ultimately was that an immense and most valuable property fell into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and thus from henceforth the enormous income was to be used for Church of England purposes. The spirit of the voluntary agreement was absolutely ignored by the clerical party, and the Corporation had to suffer this second great loss by the absolute letter of the Act being maintained. 
There is ample evidence that in addition to the City authorities, the public and also the church party believed that the property was to be held in public trust practically Bunhill Fields, 5 till the end of time, and that because of this there was a conviction that the stones and resting-places of the noble dead in Bunhill Fields would never be disturbed. Any other supposition is impossible, for certainly Dissenters would not have purchased graves and erected monuments if these afterwards were to be placed at the mercy of a priestly caste. When it became known to the public that Bunhill had changed hands, a Committee made application that the burial-ground should be held sacred for ever. Considering that hitherto this portion of the estate had been always omitted for valuation purposes the reply of the Commissioners was very strange. They stated that the ground was considered to be worth £100,000 - presumably for building purposes - but that they were willing under the circumstances to receive £10,000 by way of compensation. This led to a memorial being presented to the Corporation, at which ah appeal was made that authority should be obtained from Parliament to prevent secular use being made of this sacred spot.
On the 16th November, 1865, at the Court of Common Council, the following special resolution was passed: — 
"Resolved unanimously - That this Court learns with regret that in the communications with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the Committee have not found any disposition to concur in an arrangement for the preservation of the Bunhill Fields' Burial Ground, except upon the terms of sale and purchase
"That having regard to the antiquity of this spot as a place of extramural sepulture, that it has been held by this Corporation for more than five hundred years, that it has been set apart and used for centuries as a place of interment ; that a public pledge has been given by the conjoint authorization of the Ecclesiastical authorities and the Corporation - 'That the ground should at all times hereafter remain for the purposes of burials only,' and that up to the year 1832, upon these conditions and assurances, vaults have been sold: this Court protests against this ground or any part thereof being applied to secular uses. That, considering the high historic interest attaching to the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, in consequence of the interment of so many distinguished and honoured men of all creeds and parties, this Court is willing to accept 6 Bunhill Fields, the care and preservation of the ground on behalf of the public, and to assist in promoting any well-advised scheme for securing against molestation and disturbance the final resting place of so many thousands of their fellow-citizens.
"Ordered: That a copy of the foregoing Kesolutions be transmitted to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners."
In a remarkably short time a Bill was prepared and became an Act, one of the clauses being:— "The Burial Ground shall from time to time and at all times ... be held, used, and enjoyed, as an open space, accessible to the public at such times and under such regulations as the Corporation shall from time to time think proper and expedient ... and no house or other building, whether for the purpose of residence or trade, or for any other purpose, shall, from henceforth and for ever hereafter, be built or erected upon the burial ground or any part thereof."
Immediately after the Act was obtained a special Committee was appointed by the City authorities to make alterations and to restore and improve the ground generally, the place being opened to the public in October, 1869, after two years labour. A statement was made to the Corporation by the Chairman of the Committee in the following words: — 
"In the presence of representatives of families whose dead were buried here, and of the delegates of churches and societies whose pastors and founders rest in this ground, I desire to say that in all the reparations and alterations carried on within this enclosure, not a fragment of stone has been taken away, nor has any portion of the soil been removed. Tombs have been raised from beneath the ground, stones have been set straight, illegible inscriptions have been deciphered and re-cut, hundreds of decayed tombs have been restored, paths have been laid and avenues planted : and in all the sacred rights of sepulture scrupulously respected. An accurate copy of all the principal inscriptions exists ; a complete register of all interments is preserved ; an exact plan of the entire ground has been taken ; and it is now hoped that the Corporation of London having voluntarily done so much, the families owning graves here may come forward to do the rest. Within a few weeks the Committee will have discharged a trust readily undertaken in the public interest. They have considered themselves as fulfilling a sacred duty while renewing to posterity the emblems of the zeal and the suffering of their forefathers, and thereby, in the language of one buried here, 'trimming, as it were, the beacon-light left to warn future generations to defend their religion, even unto their blood.' It only remains that I should ask your lordship (The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Sir James Clarke Lawrence, Bart., M.P.) to declare this ground open, under the conditions of the Act of Parliament which gives to the people this their prized and rightful inheritance."
The appeal that "the families owning graves here may come forward and do the rest" met with some response, and certain monuments were erected by public subscription. It is full time, however, that more interest and love should be shown for the tombs of such noble men and women. The decaying hand of time is to be seen upon almost every stone; some are broken in two, others have sunk into the ground, and many more are now practically unreadable. Unless something is done it will be quite impossible to locate the stones of some of the most famous and godly persons, and this will be a disgrace to the public in general, but to Dissenters in particular. At different times since the opening various alterations have been made. There is now a new entrance and a path running through from the City Eoad to Bunhill Eow, but the old gateway may still be seen with its row of fierce, cruel-looking spikes which were placed there to prevent the body-snatchers doing their gruesome work. Trees have also been planted, especially the planes with their strange " moulting " trunks, and the ground has been re-turfed, flowers planted and seats provided. In addition to the official keeper there is also a gardener employed, so that for the most part this " God's Acre" is in a fair condition. But one look at the stones in their decaying state is a sad, sad sight, and the expense of preserving the main ones would be but a small matter to the great Dissenting bodies, whilst in addition, surely there are many others who love the honour of these men and the truth of God sufficiently to subscribe in order that the last resting-places of some of England's noblest children may not sink entirely into obscurity.
The writer of the Official Guide makes a most moving appeal in the following words: "Shall no friendly hand clear away those dank weeds which hide the lowly stones? Shall none appear to cleanse the soiled and weather-worn slab, so that its record may be traced? Shall none be found to lift up the headstone fallen slantwise to the earth, or to renew the masonry of the altar tombs, lying now in shapeless and pitiable ruin? Is there none to chisel out the faded inscription, and with pious hand to grave still more deeply the time-honoured memorials? Nonconformists! is there no 'Old Mortality ' amongst you, who, out of love for these sainted ones and for their Lord and Master, would live awhile amongst the tombs, and make it impossible that the names of our illustrious dead - confessors, historians, pastors, poets - and their dying witness to His love, shauld evermore be hidden from our view?"
Alfred W Light in his Book on Bunhill Fields
The Act of Uniformity
As frequent reference must be made in these pages to this infamous Act, it is desirable that some little account should be given of it. At the death of Cromwell on the 3rd September, 1658, the future king of England (Charles II) was an exile at Breda, in Holland, and seizing a favourable opportunity to return as king he, on April 14th, 1660, issued a declaration which was purposely drawn up to catch the unwary. Amongst other things he stated although "the passion and uncharitableness of the times have produced several opinions in religion" he did "declare a liberty to tender consciences; and that no more shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of opinion in matters of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom, and that we shall be ready to consent to such an Act of Parliament as upon mature deliberation shall be offered to us for the full granting that indulgence." Much joy was caused in England by this apparently frank statement, for after the dreadful persecutions of the past the people were particularly anxious as to their religious liberty. So satisfied were the Puritans that several of them made special journey to Breda to return thanks to Charles and also to make clear some other points. The false Prince (one writer has stated that Charles "superseded the reign of saints by the reign of strumpets: who was crowned in his youth with the Covenant in his hand and died with the Host sticking in his throat.") received them graciously, and strove with much success to impress upon his visitors a sense of his godliness. One of the chief things mentioned was the fact that the Book of Common Prayer was so very little used that in many parts the people had never seen or heard it; "and therefore they besought him that he would not use it so entirely and formally, and have some parts only of it read, with mixture of other prayers which the Chaplains might use." This point was also insisted upon after the Restoration at a Conference with the King in London, where they presented a document which had been drawn up at the invitation of Charles himself. Some of the bishops made reply, and whilst a controversy was proceeding the monarch issued another declaration dated the 25th October, 1660, in which he clearly and definitely promised many reforms. The year passed away without anything being accomplished, but on January 10th, 1661, a most disheartening declaration was published! (See footnote below). This was a prohibition of conventicle services, and several sects were definitely mentioned with a view to suppression. The only places where services could be held were "in some parochial church or chapel in this realm or in private houses by the persons there inhabiting." The value of the reference to "tender consciences" and the promises so lavishly made were now seen in measure, but very few seemed to apprehend the real dangers which were ahead. There were naturally many disputations, and Charles appears to have been weary of it all, and, in order to bring the matter to a conclusion, issued a warrant dated March 25th, 1661, convening the Savoy Conference. On each side were to be twelve men - the Establishment sending one archbishop and eleven bishops; whilst Reynolds, Bishop of Norwich, appeared on the other side with eleven Puritan divines. The instructions of Charles were to the effect that the Prayer Book was to be considered, and whilst as few alterations as possible were to be made, due notice should be taken of real objections. The first session was held on April 15th, 1661, but it was soon evident that the Conference would be utterly fruitless as the Bishops absolutely refused to make even the slightest concession. In vain did Baxter, Reynolds and the others plead for relaxation on eight several points, viz., using the sign of the cross in baptism, the compulsory wearing of a surplice, the forcing of people to receive the bread and wine kneeling, the obligation to pronounce all baptized persons regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the admitting of evil persons to the table, the absolution in definite expressions of unfit persons, the giving of thanks to God for all whom they buried, and the solemn declaration "that there is nothing in the Common Prayer Book, Book of Ordination and the Thirty-nine Articles, contrary to the Word of God."
The arguments of the Puritans were unanswerable, but the Bishops were determined not to give way, and the Conference broke up on July 25th, without arriving at any agreement. It is true that a revision of the Prayer Book shortly afterwards took place, but although the alterations were numerous they were of comparatively small importance, and everything to which the Puritans objected was carefully retained. Following this the Act of Uniformity was passed, and on the 19th May, 1662, the Royal Assent was given. The object was to force every beneficed clergyman to use and to declare his "unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by the book intituled The Book of Common Prayer !" The day appointed was Michaelmas, but it was altered to St. Bartholomew's, August 24th. Why this change ? In giving an answer it is impossible to avoid charging the officials of the Establishment with a particularly mean and cruel action. On Michaelmas Day the tithes became due, and it was then that the clergy paid their accounts for the year and generally straightened out their financial matters. By altering the date to August 24th, the non-conforming ministers would be compelled to leave their benefices without means to discharge their debts and without any money to help them through a very trying period. But such refined cruelty could after all only be expected from such men, and they certainly were not disappointed at the result of their eiforts. It was generally known that an Act of Uniformity had been passed, but as this was by no means the first, the terrible results were not expected. When, however, the terms of the Act were made public there was great consternation, for it was clear that there was no middle course, but that it was either conforming or non-conforming. A study of this period and of the correspondence between the Puritans is most instructive and touching. The ill-fated day drew on apace. In the reign of Elizabeth it had been celebrated by the French King and priests in a great massacre of unresisting and innocent Huguenots, and now England under the guidance of Charles the false, and godless bishops, was to sin against light and knowledge. There was little, if any, drawing back amongst the Puritans, and a most noble spirit was manifested. One clergyman, Mr. Lawrence of Baschurch, alluding to his wife and ten children said, "I have eleven arguments for conformity, but Christ has said, 'Whoso loveth wife or children more than Me is not worthy of Me.'" Old Richard Baxter wrote:

"Must I be driven from my books?
From house, and goods, and dearest friends?
One of Thy sweet and gracious smiles,
For more than this will make amends:
My Lord hath taught me how to want
A place wherein to lay my head;
While He is mine I'll be content
To beg or lack my daily bread."

Some two thousand noble men, with brave wives and children, left their dear homesteads, and "took cheerfully the spoiling of their goods " that they might "keep a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man." Was there ever an occasion quite like this, or a fact equal to this fact? Think of it! Two thousand godly, educated, tender, intelligent men severed friendships, cast aside all hope of earthly prosperity, gave up their homes, their daily bread, their treasured libraries, with all their comforts, and w^ent forth into the wilderness - many to perish of want and privation, some to be harried like hares, others to die in prison, and all because they could not sully their consciences by making a false oath and by declaring their agreement with doctrines and ritual which they believed were contrary to the Word of the living God. Well might the Act of Uniformity be called the Act of Ejection! In roaming through Bunhill Fields it is not easyto avoid a contemplation of this subject, and without some knowledge of the facts here briefly recorded, it is quite impossible to understand the reason why so many men who believed in Episcopacy, in set forms of worship, and who had no objection to a State church, are resting in a Nonconformists' burying ground.

A study of the Corporation Act by means of which all persons who refused on principle to conform to the Episcopal Church were expelled and excluded from the magistracy and from all public ofi&ces, and the other persecuting Acts passed in the early days of the reign of Charles II., is most instructive. By the statute against the Quakers more than 4,000 persons were cast into prison, whilst the Conventicle Act decreed that all persons who refused to attend the public services of the Established Church should for the first and second offence be imprisoned and fined, whilst for the third offence transportation .was the sentence, and if the sufferer ever returned to the homeland death was the penalty. This abominable Act was passed in 1664, but it in measure broke down during the great Plague when after the Clergy had through fear left their churches and flocks the non-conforming divines returned to the metropolis, which was virtually a death trap, and preached to their old congregations once again. The King and Court were safely housed at Oxford, but a new penal law was passed to deal with the case, and in 1670 the Conventicle was a prohibition of conventicle services, and several sects vrere definitely mentioned with a view to suppression. The only places where services could be held were "in some parochial church or chapel in this realm or in private houses by the persons there inhabiting." The value of the reference to " tender consciences " and the promises so lavishly made were now seen in measure, but very few seemed to apprehend the real dangers which were ahead. There were naturally many disputations, and Charles appears to have been weary of it all, and, in order to bring the matter to a conclusion, issued a warrant dated March 25th, 1661, convening the Savoy Conference. On each side were to be twelve men—the Establishment sending one archbishop and eleven bishops ; whilst Keynolds, Bishop of Norwich, appeared on the other side with eleven Puritan divines. The instructions of Charles were to the effect that the Prayer Book was to be considered, and whilst as few alterations as possible were to be made, due notice should be taken of real objections. The first session was held on April 15th, 1661, but it was soon evident that the Conference would be utterly fruitless as the Bishops absolutely refused to make even the slightest concession. In vain did Baxter, Eeynolds and the others plead for relaxation on eight several points, viz., using the sign of the cross in baptism, the compulsory wearing of a surplice, the forcing of people to receive the bread and wine kneeling, the obligation to pronounce all baptized persons regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the admitting of evil persons to the table, the absolution in definite expressions of unfit persons, the giving of thanks to God for all whom they buried, and the solemn declaration "that there is nothing in the Common Prayer Book, Book of Ordination and the Thirty-nine Articles, contrary to the Word of God." Act was enforced with even harsher terms. No trial by jury of these godly men could now take place, their persons could be seized on any and every occasion, whilst no exception could be taken to the warrants even though these were irregularly and incorrectly drawn. It has been recorded that one notable ecclesiastic, the Bishop of Peterborough, declared that, " It hath done its business against all fanatics except the Quakers ! but when the Parliament sits again, a stronger law will bo made, not only to take away their lands and goods, but also to sell them for bond slaves." What a kind and good shepherd!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Matthew Henry on dissent

When in the books and sermons, that plead for the church of England, I find sober dissenting ministers censured and condemned as usurpers, impostors, and lay-intruders; all their administrations nulled, their assemblies denied to be parts of the catholic church, all who join with them sentenced as schismatics to the pit of hell, and no hopes of salvation given them, but what God's general mercy allows to moral heathens; and all the reformed churches that have no bishops, - that is, diocesan bishops, - falling so far under the same censure, that their ministers cannot be admitted ministers of the church of England, unless they be re-ordained, while those who have been popish priests may; and all these harsh censures excused from uncharitableness with this, that they cannot help it, their principles lead them to it: then, think I, the Lord deliver me from such principles, and from that pretended unity, which is destructive of real charity.
The Rev. Matthew Henry
(See his THE LAY-MAN'S REASONS for his JOINING IN STATED COMMUNION WITH A CONGREGATION OF MODERATE DISSENTERS)

The Sufferers Catechism

The Sufferers-catechism, Wherein are Many Necessary and Reasonable Questions and Cases of Conscience Resolved, Etc was a 44 page book published anonymously in 1664. It appears to be the work of the Welshman Vavasor Powell (1617-1670) who wrote in prison with Nathaniel Rich (d 1701).

Here is a brief extract

Quest. 7 . Why are all the godly to expect sufferings and persecutions?
Because it is one of the wayes that God bath appointed to do them good by; it is food to feed them; a school to teach them; water to cleanse them; fire to purify them; a hedge, and a wall, to keep them from their sins; and a means to help them to be partakers of his holiness ... 

Quest. 15. Is it the revealed will of God the Father, and of Christ, that any should be persecuted or destroyed. for Religion or Conscience sake?
Answ. No surely. See Job. 19.22-28, Psal. 69.25 and 109.16, Mat. 7.12, Acts 7.52.

Quest 16. How doth that further appear?
Answ.
1. Because it is contrary to the nature and behaviour of God and Christ. who are gracious, merciful, patient, and long-suffering to the worst of men, much more to the Righteous, Job 33.24.25, Jonah 4.2. Mat. 5.45, Luke 6.35, 36, Rom. 2.4.
2. Because it is contrary to the end of Christ's coming into the world, who came to save men's lives, and not to destroy them. Luke 9.56, 1 Tim 1.13.
3. Because persecution for Religion is a sin, therefore it is contrary. and not according to the revealed will of God; See Mat. 5.12, Luke 11.9, 1 Cor 15.49,  Gal 1.12-17, 1 Tim 1.13 .....

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Westminster Divine Simeon Ashe died 1662

Simeon Ashe was educated at the Puritan Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He began his career as a minister in Staffordshire, but was ejected from his living on account of his refusal to read the Book of Sports and to conform to other ceremonies. On his dismissal Sir John Burgoyne befriended him and allowed him the use of an 'exempt' church at Wroxhall; and he was afterwards under the protection of Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke. He was a regular Sunday preacher at Warwick Castle, and a friend of the minister Thomas Dugard (brother of William, father of Samuel Dugard).
When the First English Civil War broke out, he became chaplain to the Earl of Manchester. At the close of the war he received the living of St. Austin, and was also one of the Cornhill lecturers. He was nominated to the Westminster assembly after the death in 1643 of Josias Shute. Although he had joined the side of the parliament, Ashe was strongly opposed to the Cromwellians; and when the time was ripe for the English Restoration he was among the divines who went to Breda to meet Charles II. He died a few days before the passing of the Act of Uniformity, and was buried on 24 August 1662. Had he lived to see the passing of the act, he would have vacated his living and so should be counted among the ejected.
Ashe was a man of some property, and while he held the living of St. Austin, his house was always open to his clerical brethren. Walker charges him with exercising severity against the conforming clergy.
His works - In 1644 he joined with William Goode, another chaplain of the Earl of Manchester, in writing a pamphlet entitled A particular Relation of the most Remarkable Occurrences from the United Forces in the North. This was followed by another pamphlet, for which Ashe alone was responsible, entitled A True Relation of the most Chiefe Occurrences at and since the late Battell at Newbery. The writer's object in both cases was to vindicate the conduct of his patron. In John Vicars's Parliamentary Chronicle there is a letter of his, describing the proceedings of the Earl of Manchester in reducing several garrisons after the battle of Marston Moor. Ashe was the author of sermons, including
'A Sermon on Ps. ix. 9,' preached before the House of Commons on 30 March 1642
'A Sermon before the House of Lords,' 26 Feb. 1644
'A Funeral Sermon on the Death of the Countess of Manchester,' 12 Oct. 1658, etc.
He also edited some treatises of John Ball, John Brinsley, Ralph Robinson, and others.

Memorial Sermon by J M Cramp 1818

A memorial sermon referring to the great ejection was preached by the Baptist historian J M Cramp in 1818. It can be accessed here.
His text is Acts 5:29.
At the end of his sermon he makes four applications.

1. In the conduct of these excellent men, we have a noble example for our imitation
2. As Dissenters, we should not be unmindful of our obligations to divine goodness
3. The principles of dissent deserve to be carefully studied, and warmly supported
4. In the event which we have now commemorated, we have a striking proof of the power of religion