John Lathorp.—This excellent person was minister of Egerton in Kent; but, renouncing his episcopal ordination, was chosen pastor of the independent church, under the care of Mr. Henry Jacob, London, upon Mr. Jacob's retiring to America. This little society, which had hitherto assembled in private, moving from place to place, began about this time to assume courage, and ventured to shew itself in public. It was not long, however, before the congregation was discovered by Tomlinson, the bishop's pursuivant, at the house of Mr. Humphrey Barnet, a brewer's clerk, in Blackfriars; -when, April 29, 1432, forty-two of them were apprehended, and only eighteen escaped. Of those who were taken, some were confined in the Clink, some in New Prison, and others in the Gatehouse, where they continued about two years. They were then released upon bail, except Mr. Lathorp, for whom no favour could for some time be obtained. He, at length, petitioned the king, and his numerous family of children laid their lamentable case at the feet of Archbishop Laud, requesting that he might go into banishment in a foreign land; which being granted, he went to New England, in the year 1634, when he was accompanied by about thirty of his
* Walkrr's Attempt, part ii. p. 419. + Memorial of Mr. Lyford.
J Wood'» Athens-, vol. ii. p. 571.—Palmer's Noacun. Mem. vol. ii. p. 419.
congregation. It is observed, that, during his imprisonment, his wife fell sick and died; but that he obtained so much favour as to visit her, and pray with her, before she breathed her last; and then returned to prison.*
Mr. Lathorp was -a man of learning, and of a meek and quiet spirit; but met with sonic uneasiness from his people on the following occasion. It appears that some of his congregation entertained doubts of the validity of baptism, as administered by their own pastor; and one person, who indulged these scruples, carried his child to be re-baptized at the parish church. This giving offence to some persons, the subject was discussed at a general meeting of the society; and when the question was put it was carried in the negative: at the same time it was resolved, by a majority, not to make any declaration at present, whether ,or no parish churches were true churches. This decision proving unacceptable to the most rigid among them, they desired their dismission; and, uniting with some others who were dissatisfied about the lawfulness of infant baptism, formed themselves into a new society, which is thought to have been the first baptist congregation in England. This separation took place in the year 1633, and the new society chose Mr. John Spilsbury for its pastor.i But the remainder of Mr. Lathorp's church renewed their covenant, to walk together in the ways of God, so far as he had made them knorvn, or should make them known to them, and forsake all false zcaj/s: and so steady were they to their vows, that there was scarcely an instance of any one departing from the church, even under the severest persecutions.* .
Mr. Lathorp, being driven from his native country, and retiring to New England, was chosen first pastor of the church at Scituate, where he continued for some time, distributing the bread of life. Part of the church afterwards removing to Barnstaple, he removed with them, where he continued pastor of the church to the day of his death. He died November 8, 1653. He was a man of a happy and pious spirit, studious of peace, a lively preacher, and willing to spend and be spent for the glory of Christ and the salvation of souls.$
Mr. Prince, in compiling his " Chronological History of New England," made use of "An original Register," in manuscript, by Mr. Lathorp, giving an account of Scituate
• Morton's Memorial, p. 141.—Nral's Puritans, \ol. ii. p. 273. + Neat's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 373, 371.—Crosby's Baptists, Tol. i. p. 148, 149.
J Meal's Puritans, vol. ii. p. 374. ', Morion's Memorial, p. 141.
and Barnstaple, where he had been successively the first minister.