Try out the new BibleStudyTools.com. Click here!

John Workman

John Workman.—This persecuted servant of Christ was born hear Lasborough in Gloucestershire, and educated in the university of Oxford. Having finished his academical studies, he became the laborious and pious lecturer at St. Stephen's church, in the city of Gloucester; where, for preaching against images in churches, he met with most oppressive and cruel usage from Archbishop , Laud. He said, in one of his sermons, " That pictures or ' images were no more ornaments to a church than stews ; were to a commonwealth.—That for a person to have an / image of any saint, but especially of our Saviour, in his ! house, is unlawful.—And that any man keeping such / pictures or images in his house, if it be not flat idolatry, I it is little better." This was the principal charge brought against him. Some other things were, however, added: as, that he used certain harsh expressions against lascivious and mixed dancing, especially on the Lord's day, only citing the words of the Waldenses in their censuring the same , practice; and that he prayed for the states of Holland, the King of Sweden, and other foreign princes, before he prayed for the King of England ; though, in this, he .. followed .the exact order of the Book of Common Prayer. These things were among the charges brought against him; but the principal stress was laid upon his expressions against images. For these crimes Mr. Workman was convened before the high commission at Lambeth, when he

endeavoured to vindicate what be had said, by an appeal to the testimony of the most celebrated authors, but especially the homilies. Though he is said to have justified every syllable in his sermon, this only served to increase the wrath of the archbishop, by whose tyrannical influence, April 25, 1635, the good man received the following cruel sentence:—" He was suspended from the office and function of his ministry, excommunicated, required to make a recantation of his erroneous and scandalous doctrine, the next court-day at Lambeth, in such manner and form as the commissioners should appoint; this recantation to be published before the public congregation in the cathedral church and the church of St. Michael's, Gloucester; and he was condemned in costs of suit, and cast into prison."*

Mr. Workman being a man of singular piety, learning, wisdom, and moderation, which even the archbishop himself acknowledged; and having been a most painful and diligent preacher in the city of Gloucester upwards of fifteen years, the corporation, by unanimous consent, and under the common seal, granted him, in the year 1633, an annuity of twenty pounds a year. This was designed as a public acknowledgment, and a just compensation for his great pains in preaching, and visiting the sick; and was found particularly serviceable towards supporting his numerous family of children. For this honourable act of kindness and liberality to' ~their worthy minister, John Buckston, the mayor of the city, Mr. Wise, the town clerk, and several of the aldermen, were, by the instigation of Laud, brought before the council, then prosecuted in the high commission court, by which they were great sufferers; and, to the perpetual reproach of the archbishop, MkJWorkman was' deprived of his annuity. The good man, having suffered many months imprisonment, after much solicitation, obtained his liberty; and to provide for his numerous starving family, was obliged to teach school. Laud no sooner heard of this, than he prohibited him from teaching' children, and warned him to do the contrary at his peril. Being forbidden to teach school, Mr.. Workman bbeyecTthe prohibition, and, to procure a subsistence, began to practise physic also.t In these painful circumstances,

• Prynne's Cant. Doome, p. 103—107.

+ It is observed tbat Archbishop Laud was a man of an upright heart and a pious soul, but of too warm and too positive a nature. He was full of fire, and had too much zeal for the church. Though his fire and his zeal

the distressed servant of Christ was received into the house of one Mr. Kyrle of Wallford, but without any cure or employment. The bishop of the diocese being determined, in the year 1638, to prosecute him for nonconformity, he is said to have suddenly fled out of the diocese ;* yes, he fled to that place where neither bishop nor archbishop could hurl him; where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest. For the poor distressed man sunk under the heavy pressure of his poverty and accumulated afflictions, which, about the above period, sent him to his grave, and delivered him from all his sorrows.t Mr. 'Workman was an excellent and useful preacher, and the honoured instrument of greatly advancing the knowledge of Christ, and the power of godliness, in the city of Gloucester.J Mr. Giles Workman, another worthy puritan, of whom a 2. .*£. £/*f* rocmblr will be found in its proper place, was his brother.