Theophilus Bradbourn was minister at some place in Norfolk, and a zealous old puritan. || He was of strict Sabbatarian principles, and zealously maintained the necessity of observing the seventh day as the christian sabbath. In the year 1628, he published a book entitled, " A Defence of the most ancient and sacred ordinance of God, the Sabbath-day," which he dedicated to the king. In this work he maintained, " That the fourth commandment, Remember the sabbath-day to keep it holy, was entirely moral, and of indispensable obligation to the end of the world:—that the seventh day in the week ought to be observed as an holy day in the christian church, as it was among the Jews before the coming of Christ:—and that it was superstition and evil-worship to observe the Lord's day as the sabbath, seeing there was no command for it."! For these opinions, says Fuller, " He fell into the ambush of the high commission, whose well-tempered severity so prevailed with him, that, submitting to a private conference, and perceiving the unsoundness of his own principles, he became a convert, and quietly conformed to the church of England," so far as concerned the sabbatarian controversy.**
The publication of Mr. Bradboum's book roused the jealousy and indignation of the court; therefore, by the command of the king, and under the direction of Archbishop Laud, Dr. VVhite, bishop of Ely, undertook a
* Clark's Lives annexed to his Martyrologie, p. 172.
+ Brooks on Assurance, p. 39. lidit. 1810.
i MS. Remarks, p. 494.
S Dugdale's Antiq. of Warwickshire, vol. ii. p. 654. Edit. 1730'
U Wood's Athena; Oxon. vol. i. p. 333.
t Paget's Heresiosraphj, p. 161. Edit. 1662.
*• Fuller's Church Hist. b. si. p. 144.
refutation of it, entitled, " A Treatise of the Sabbath-day t containing a Defence of the Orthodoxall Doctrine of the Church of England, against Sabbatarian Novelty," 1635; which he dedicated to the archbishop. In this dedication he gives the following account of Mr. Bradboum:—" A certain minister in Norfolk," says he, "proceedingafter the rule of the presbyterian principles, among which this was the principal: 4 That all religious observations and actions, and the ordaining and keeping of holy days, must have a special warrant and commandment in holy scripture, otherwise the same is superstitiousconcluded, that the seventh day of every week, having an express command in the decalogue, by a precept simply and perpetually moral; and the Sunday being not commanded, either in the law or the gospel; therefore the Saturday must be the christian's weekly sabbath, and the Sunday ought to be a working day.
" This man," his lordship adds, " was exceeding confident in his way, and defied his adversaries, loading them with much disgrace and contempt. He dedicated his book to the king's majesty himself, and implored his princely aid to set up the ancient sabbath. He likewise admonished the reverend bishops of the kingdom, and the temporal state, to restore the fourth commandment of the decalogue to its original possession. He professed that he would suffer martyrdom, rather than betray such a worthy cause, so firmly supported by the common principles of all who have in preaching or writing treated of the sabbath. While he was in this heat, crying in all places where he came, victory, victory, he chanced to light upon an unkind accident: which was to be convened and called to an account before your grace (meaning Laud) and the honourable court of high commissioners. At bis appearance, your grace did not confute him with fire and fagot, with baiter, axe, or scourging; but according to the usual proceedings of your grace, and of that court, with delinquents who are overtaken with error in simplicity. There was yielded unto him a deliberate, patient, and full hearing, together with a satisfactory answer to all his main objections.
" The man perceiving," his lordship further observes, " that the principles which the sabbatarian dogmatists had lent him, were not orthodox; and that all who were present at the hearing approved the confutation of his error; he began to suspect that the holy brethren who had lent him his principles, and yet persecuted his conclusion, might perhaps be deceived in the first, as he had been in the last. Therefore, laying aside all his former confidence, he submitted himself to a private conference; which by God's blessing so far prevailed, that he became a convert, and freely submitted himself to the orthodox doctrine of the church of England, concerning both the sabbath and the Lord's day."
This reverend prelate, in writing against one of the puritans, could not help following his passions or his ignorance, by ungenerously, and with great falsehood, reproaching them as a body. Within the compass of a few pages he stigmatizes the puritans " a new presbyterian 6ect—these zealots—these senators—these ecclesiastical senators—these novel senators—these presbyterian senators —these presbyterian rulers—these presbyterian dictators— these presbyterian backbiters."*