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about us, and hoping to be past the danger of the leaguer, we took to the highway, intending to go to a little town called Clayton; and having waded over the water, we met with two men that were troopers, and who had left their horses in the town, and hoped to get away on foot, and now they and we walked together, and hoped we had escaped all danger, and all on a sudden a man on horseback from towards the beacon had espied us and came riding towards us, and we, like poor affrighted sheep, seeing him come fast towards us, with a drawn sword in his hand, we foolishly kept together, and thought to save ourselves by running. Had we scattered from one another, he had but got one of us. We all got into a field; he crossed the field and came to us, and as it pleased God, being running by the hedge-side, I espied a thick holly-tree, and thought perhaps I might hide myself in this tree and escape, so I crept into it, and pulled the boughs about me, and presently I heard them cry out for quarter. He wounded one of them, and took them all prisoners, and said, 'There were four of you; where is the other?' but they knew not, for I, being the last and least of them, was not missed; so he never looked after me more; but I have often thought since how easily we might have knocked him down, had we but had courage; but, alas! we had none.'-pp. 10, 11.
He was probably included in some of the exchanges of prisoners which subsequently took place, as he speedily returned to Cambridge; and, on the visitation of the Earl of Manchester, in the early part of 1644, was appointed to a fellowship of Clare Hall, in the place of Mr. Peter Gunning, who was ejected by the parliamentary commissioner. Mr. Clarkson's views of church government were congregational, and to this circumstance may probably be attributed much of the tolerant spirit of the celebrated John Tillotson, subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury, who became his pupil at Clare Hall in the spring of 1647. Mr. Clarkson was ejected from the living of Mortlake, in Surrey, by the Act of Uniformity, which, with a refinement of cruelty worthy of Clarendon and the bishops of the Restoration, came into operation on Bartholomew's day, August 24th, 1662. We are surprized at the mild terms in which Mr. Blackburn refers to this atrocious act. Surely it merited a severer reprobation than he has passed on it, for it added to the guilt of persecution, the treachery of deceit, and a wilful violation of the most solemn promises. History records few cases short of open murder which bespeak more reckless cruelty. For twenty years Mr. Clarkson continued in comparative obscurity, moving from place to place to avoid persecution, and only at very rare periods exercising his ministry. The Declaration of Indulgence afforded him some respite, though he does not appear to have availed himself of the royal ordinance, like many of his brethren.
In 1682 he was elected co-pastor with Dr. John Owen, and four years afterwards, June 14th, 1686, he peacefully departed from his sphere of labour, in the clear recognition and confident indulgence of Christian hope. His clear and comprehensive mind,' says John Howe, 'his excellent learning, his reasoning, argumentative skill, his solid, most discerning judgment, his indefatigable industry, his large knowledge, and great moderation in the matters of our unhappy ecclesiastical differences, his calm dispassionate temper, his pleasant and most amiable conversation, did carry so great a lustre with them, as that, notwithstanding his most beloved retiredness, they could not, in his circumstances, but make him be much known, and much esteemed and loved by all that had the happiness to know him, and make the loss of him be much lamented. But he was, by the things that made his continuance so desirable in this world, the fitter for a better and more suitable world. He lived here as one that was more akin to that other world than this; and who had no other business here but to help in making this better.'
Such was the man whose 'select works' the Wycliffe Society has issued as the second volume of its series. They are worthy of his reputation, and may be studied with great advantage. His learning was profound and accurate, his research most extensive, and his piety both enlightened and fervent. He united the best qualities of many of his class, and was deterred by his extreme modesty only from occupying a prominent and commanding position amongst his brethren. The works included in this volume are, 'No Evidence for Diocesan Churches, &c,' 'Diocesan Churches not yet Discovered,' 'Primitive Episcopacy Stated and Cleared, &c.,' 'A Discourse Concerning Liturgies,' 'A Discourse of the Saving Grace of God,' and three miscellaneous sermons.
After what we have said respecting these volumes, we need not be apprehensive of being supposed to underrate their value. For ourselves, we are more than content with them; and if the spirit we desire to create were already prevalent, we should see no objection to their selection. But this is far from being the case. Our people are disinclined to what they term dull and heavy reading; and, though the Wycliffe Society has not promised and we perfectly approve their abstinence in this matter'to produce popular books, adapted to the prevailing taste of the age,' yet some condescension to the existing state of things, something adapted to allure to a better and more healthful taste, might wisely have characterized their earlier issues. It was surely inexpedient to select the driest, and what the generality of readers will esteem, the least attractive works, when the
object was to create an interest, and to fill up a subscription list. Nothing can well be imagined less likely to do this than Wycliffe's volume, the very fragmentary character of which was, in itself, sufficient to place it under the ban of common readers. We are not, therefore, surprized, when informed by the committee that,
Although there does not exist any collection of the great rereformer's writings, at all equal in extent or information to that volume, yet, from causes which the committee cannot explain, its appearance did not produce the expected augmentation of the number of subscribers; and their fond hope of seeing £1,200 or £1,500 contributed was disappointed, as the list never contained more than 950 names, and from several untoward circumstances the amount actually received by the treasurer did not exceed £873.'
This is precisely what we should have anticipated, and our astonishment is great that the committee did not perceive their error, and seek to correct it in their second publication. If the name of the society necessitated-of which we are by no means convinced their commencing the series with the Treatises of Wycliffe, immediate steps should have been taken to follow them up by a second volume of a more popular and attractive character; such as the Trials of Barrow, Greenwood, and Penry, the Troubles at Frankfort, the Conferences of Hampton Court and of Savoy, the Parte of a Register, or some similar publication. Instead of this, however, works were selected, the very name of whose author was known only to a few, and the qualities of which, however sterling, were utterly foreign from the mental aptitudes of our people. This fact will go far, in our judgment, to account for the difficulties which have been experienced, and we earnestly council our friends to review their plan. It is in no unfriendly spirit that we make these remarks, but from a deep solicitude to insure the accomplishment of a scheme which has our heartiest approval. Let the error be corrected in time, and our hopes may yet be realized.
The Hanserd Knollys Society, as already intimated, was formed subsequently to the Wycliffe, and is more restricted in its range. The sphere of each is perfectly distinct, and we shall be glad to find that both are duly sustained by the denominations to which they respectively belong. Had it been practicable, we should have preferred one society, having respect to the objects common to both bodies, adapted to illustrate our
• In the case of the Troubles at Frankfort, the committee have been anticipated by the enterprize of Mr. Petheram of Chancery-lane, London, whose edition of this invaluable work, together with his Puritan Discipline Tracts, we strongly recommend to the patronage of our readers.
history, whether local or general, to develope the growth of our principles, and to exhibit in their true light the character and services of our fathers. A generous forbearance might possibly have secured this, and there would have been considerable advantages attending it. But the difficulties connected with such an organization would not have been trifling, and we are therefore content to receive the publications of both societies as valuable contributions, in their several departments, to our historical and theological treasures. The value of the works proposed to be republished by the Hanserd Knollys Society is very great.
'Their authors,' remarks the prospectus issued by the Council, 'exercised no mean influence on the course of national affairs during the period of Cromwell's protectorate, and they became in subsequent reigns, as they had been in times preceding the Commonwealth, the especial objects of ecclesiastical and political persecution. These productions form therefore an important element in the study of that eventful and stirring time. But especially interesting do these works appear, as the documents from which may be learnt the opinions and the bitter trials of those men to whom the Baptist body owes its existence in this country :-in whose stripes, and bonds, and death, was laid the foundation of that liberty we now enjoy.'
The series will include the works of both General and Particular Baptists; Records and Manuscripts relating to the rise and formation of the Baptist churches; Translations of such works as may illustrate the sufferings of the Baptists and the extension of their principles, together with such Documents as are to be found only in large historical collections, or may not yet have appeared in an accessible form. On the baptismal controversy only those treatises will be given which are of acknowledged worth or historic value. The whole will be accompanied with biographical notices of the authors, and with such notes and illustrations as may be essential to their completeness. The publications will consist of works produced before the close of the seventeeth century.
Such are the character and scope of the works which the Society proposes to issue; and the volume already published does great credit to the judgment both of the council and of the editor. It is one of the most valuable contributions to ecclesiastical history which modern times have witnessed, and only requires to be extensively known in order to secure a place in every historical library in the kingdom. Whatever opinion may be held respecting some of the views which are broached, all candid and intelligent men will unite in attaching great value to the treatises it contains. They are seven in number, of which the following are the titles and dates :-Religion's peace, a plea for liberty of conscience, 1614; Persecution for religion judged
and condemned, 1615; An humble supplication to the King's Majesty, 1620; The necessity of toleration in matters of Religion, 1647; An humble petition and representation of the Anabaptists, 1660; A plea for toleration of opinions and persuasions in matters of Religion, 1661; and Sion's groans for her distressed, &c., 1661.
We shall not attempt an analysis of these pieces; our space precludes it, and it would be beside our present object. It is enough to remark, that their authors were the earliest advocates, and amongst the most able expounders of the doctrine of religious freedom. They placed it on a broad and stable footing, admitted of no exceptions, and scorned to avail themselves of delusive and partial pleas. What they asked for one sect, they demanded for all. The force of their logic was as applicable to others as to themselves, and their generous spirit asserted in its legitimate extent, the right of every human being to worship God according to his own conceptions of duty.
'I read,' says the author of the first treatise published-the capitals are from the original-published in 1614, that a bishop of Rome would have constrained a Turkish emperor to the Christian faith, unto whom the emperor answered, I believe that Christ was an excellent prophet, but he did never, so far as I understand, command that men should with the power of weapons, be constrained to believe his law; and verily I also do force no man to believe Mahomet's law' Also I read that Jews, Christians, and Turks, are tolerated in Constantinople, and yet are peaceable, though so contrary the one to the other
'If this be so, how much more ought Christians not to force one another to religion? AND HOW MUCH MORe ought ChrISTIANS TO TOLERATE CHRISTIANS, WHEN AS THE TURKS DO TOLERATE THEM? SHALL WE BE LESS MERCIFUL THAN THE TURKS? OR SHALL WE LEARN THE TURKS TO PERSECUTE CHRISTIANS? IT IS NOT ONLY UNMERCIFUL, BUT UNNATURAL AND ABOMINABLE; YEA, MONSTROUS FOR ONE CHRISTIAN TO VEX AND DESTROY ANOTHER FOR DIFFERENCE AND QUESTIONS OF Religion.'—p. 24.
The distinctive province and limited functions of the magistrate are clearly and ably pointed out in various passages, one of which we must quote for the information of our readers :
'I acknowledge unfeignedly,' says the writer of the second treatise, published in 1615, that God hath given to magistrates a sword to cut off wicked men, and to reward the well-doers. But this ministry is a worldly ministry, their sword is a worldly sword, their punishments can extend no further than the outward man, they can but kill the body. And therefore this ministry and sword is appointed only to punish the breach of worldly ordinances, which is all that