William Axton was a truly pious man, a steady nonconformist, and a learned divine. He was some years rector of, Moreton Corbet in Shropshire ;t where Sir Robert Corbet, who was his great and worthy friend, protected him for some time from the severities of the prelates.^ Though under the wing of so excellent a patron, he found protection only for a season, and was brought into trouble for nonconformity. About the,year 1570, he was cited before Dr. Bentham, bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, when he underwent several examinations for refusing the apparel, the cross in baptism, and kneeling at the sacrament. Upon his appearance, he debated these points with the bishop and his officers, with great freedom and courage. These examinations, now before me, though at considerable length, are here presented to the curious reader. Mr. Axton being brought before his ecclesiastical judges, the bishop thus addresed him:
Bishop. Though we allow you, Mr. Axton, to assign your reasons, you shall not be unanswered. Therefore set forth your reasons, and we will consider them.
Axton. If there be any odds in the disputation, it is on your side. For you are many, and I am but one, and have no equal judge or moderator; but I am content to set down my reasons, and leave them to God and your own con
* Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 568—570. + Heylin's Hist, of Pres. p. 257,258.
J Mr. Neal, by mistake, says Leicestershire.—Hist, of Puritans, vol. i. p. 228.
t) Sir Robert was a constant friend to the persecuted nonconformists, and often sheltered them from the tyrannical oppressions of the bishops.—SIS, Chrtnology, vol. il. p. 373.(14.)
sciences.—As the priesthood of Christ or of Aaron, and even their very garments, were most honourable: so the priesthood of antichrist, and even the very garments, as the cope and surplice, is most detestable.
B. Then you will condemn as unlawful, whatsoever the papists used in their idolatrous service.
A. Some things have been abused by idolaters, and yet are necessary and profitable in the service of God. Other things they have abused, which are neither necessary nor profitable. The former are to be retained, and the latter to be refused. The surplice hath been used by the priests of antichrist, and hath no necessary nor profitable use in the service of God, any more than any other thing used in idolatrous worship; therefore the surplice ought not to be used.
B. The surplice hath a necessary use.
A. If it have, you sin in omitting it at any time. In this you condemn the reformed churches abroad, for excluding a thing so necessary.
B. It is necessary, because the prince hath commanded it.
A. Indeed, it is so necessarily commanded, that without the use of it, a minister must not preach, nor administer the sacraments, however great are his learning, his gifts, and his godliness. This is a most wicked necessity.
B. But it is comely in the church of God.
A. What comeliness is it for the minister of Christ, to wear the rags of antichrist ? If this be comely, then the velvet and golden copes, for the same reason, are more comely. But this is not the comeliness of the gospel.
B. You are not a judge whether the surplice be comely.
A. The apostle saith to all christians, " Try the spirits, whether they be of God." Is it then unlawful for a christian, and a minister of Christ, to judge of a ceremony of man's invention ? The reformed churches have judged the surplice to be uncomely for the ministers of Christ. Luther, Calvin, Beza, Peter Martyr, and many others, have disallowed the use of it. And most learned men now in England, who use the surplice, wish with all their hearts, it were taken away. Yea, I think this is your opinion also. Ridley said " it was more fit for a player on the stage, than for a minister of God in bis church."
B. We will not allow that the surplice is the garment of antichrist.
A. That which was consecrated by antichrist, and constantly worn by the priests of antichrist, in their idolatrous service, was one of the garments of antichrist. But the surplice was consecrated by antichrist, and constantly worn by the priests of antichrist in their idolatrous service. Therefore, the surplice is a garment of antichrist.
B. But this surplice which we use, was never used by idolatrous priests.
A. Then you confess that their surplices may not be used by us. Yet in many churches in England, the massing surplices and copes have been used, and are still used; which, by your own confession, are accursed and abominable. But when we speak of the surplice, we do not mean this or that surplice, but surplices in general.
Barker. How do you prove that ?
A. When the king of Judah came to Damascus, and there saw a brazen altar, he sent the pattern of it to Jerusalem, commanding the high priest to make one like unto it, and set it up in the temple of God. This was as great a sin, as if he had set up the very same altar which he saw at Damascus; therefore, though we have not the very same surplice, we have one made like unto it, even as like that at Damascus as it can be made.
B. Then we will have it made shorter or longer than theirs, or wider or narrower.*
A. That is a poor shift. You know, that nearly all the surplices in England are like the papists' surplices.
B. I have a cup like the papists' calice, and is it unlawful for me to use it ?
A. Your cup is not used in the service of God, nor is it convenient for that purpose. But supposing it were both convenient and useful in the supper of the Lord, it cannot be compared with the surplice, which is neither convenient nor useful.
B. We have appointed the surplice for another end, than the papists did.
to what you now plead, you may oring into the church
* The profound reasoning of the reverend prelate, reminds ns of an anecdote «>- have met with concerning a pious minister, who, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was urged by his ordinary to wear the surplice ; but who, in addition to other reasons, alleged, that the surplice offered him to put on, was the very same surplice as the mass-priest had used. The bishop admitted the excuse, and commanded another to be made; and when it was taken to the church, the minister took it up, and thus addressed the people present:—" Good people," said he, " the bishop himself confessed, that the former massing surplice was not to be worn by a minuter of the gospel; but judge you if this be as like that, as one eye is like another? t*t this, therefore, go after the other:" and so be cast it away.—fines' Fresh Suit, part ii. p. 435.
of God, nearly all the trash of popery, their candles, their torches, their banners, their oil in baptism, and nearly all other things pertaining to antichrist.
B. Yes; and why not, if it please the prince, seeing they are things in their own nature indifferent.
A. I beseech you in the Lord, mind what you say. Shall we again bring tapers into the church of God, and oil into the sacrament of baptism ?
B. Yes; and why not ? Is not oil one of the sacraments in the church of God ? Why do you speak so contemptuously of oil ?
A. It is no contempt to exclude oil, milk, salt, or any such thing, from the sacrament. And why do you call oil a sacrament, seeing it is neither a sacrament, nor any sign of a sacrament ?
B. Though it be no sacrament now, it was in the time of the apostles.
A. To speak properly, it never was a sacrament, the nature and use of which is to remember and seal unto us the mercies of God in Christ Jesus.
B. This is talk. You do not allege the scriptures.
A. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; and ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and the table of devils. Meats, drinks, and apparel, are all of the same nature; therefore, being consecrated to idolatry, they are condemned. So it is said, " Ye shall also defile the covering of the graven images of silver, and the ornament of the molten image of gold: Thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, get thee hence. And whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." But the surplice, and the wearing of it, is not for the glory of God, therefore not to be worn.
B. The surplice is for the glory of God.
A. That which promotes the glory of the papists, does not promote the glory of God; but the wearing of the surplice promotes the glory and triumph of the papists, and, therefore, not to be worn.
B. I deny your argument.
A. It is a syllogism.
B. You are full of your syllogisms.
A. Our reason is the gift of God, and the right use of it is to find out the truth.
B. But a syllogism may be false. Let us proceed to your second argument.
A. I will allege one reason more. We ought to be without offence to the Jew, to the Gentile, and to the church of God. But our wearing the surplice is an offence to the Jew, and the Gentile, (meaning the papists) and the church of God. Therefore we ought not to wear the surplice.
B. How will you be an offence to the papists by wearing the surplice ?
A. By offence, the apostle does not mean to gWere, but to be an occasion to another to sin. But if 1 wear the surplice, I shall be an occasion or encouragement to the papists to sin. Therefore I may not wear it.
B. How will you be an offence to the church of God? You perhaps may be to three or four; but you must regard the greater part.
A. I should be an offence to the greater part, and the lesser part, and all the church of God.
B. How do you prove that ?
A. I should be an offence to the lesser part, being those who are effectually called, because their souls are exceedingly grieved with those who do wear it. And to the greater part, being such as are beginning to dislike popery, and follow true religion; who, by wearing it, would be ready to give up their zeal, and return to popery.
B. You must teach them to hate popery, though you wear the surplice.
A. If I teach them one thing, and I myself do the contrary, how will they believe me ? You know most people look more at our doings, than ourdoctrine.—Hitherto I have given my reasons against wearing the surplice; if you have any reasons to shew why I should wear it, let me hear a few of the best.
Barker. That which doth not offend in its institution, matter, form, or use, is not to be refused. But the surplice doth not offend in its institution, matter, form, or use. Therefore it may not be refused.
A. Your reasoning is not good. You must first prove that the surplice has not been abused, and is not offensive, then will you conclude better.
Walton. If nothing may be used in the church, that has been abused to idolatry, then the pulpits, and even the churches, of the papists, may not be used.
A. This, in effect, hath been already answered. Prove that the surplice is as useful as the pulpit and the church,
Chancellor. Then you deny that the prince hath any Authority to command things indifferent.
A. You have said more than I have done all day. Your unjust charge is contrary to what I have said. I wonder you can charge me so falsely to my face.
B. You run to your former distinction.
A. It is not my distinction, but Tertullian's; and it is that distinction which you will never be able to condemn. I trust I have now confirmed the truth, and shewed sufficient reason why I may not wear the surplice, there being no reason why I should.
B. No, indeed! your reasons are no reasons.
A. They are such as have not yet been answered, and I am persuaded, will not be answered. I am not afraid that all these things should be made known, that the learned
C. les, you would have them in print, would you not ?
A. I thought of no such thing. But, as a witness for the truth, I am not ashamed that these things should undergo the examination of the learned and the godly.»
The second conference was about the use and signification of the cross in baptism. Upon Mr. Axton's appearance before the bishop and others, being required to deliver his opinion, he spoke as follows:
A. Nothing may be added to the institution of Christ: as, / have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you. But the cross in baptism is an addition to the institution of Christ. Therefore the cross in baptism is unlawful.
B. The necessary parts of the sacrament are to be retained; but whether the water be poured upon the child's forehead, or it be marked with a cross, being ceremonial, is left to the determination of the church.
A. If you produce as good warrant from the word, for the crossing of the child, as I can for the washing of it, then I will grant that the church has authority so to determine. But such warrant cannot be produced. Besides, we have just reason to leave out the cross, because papists abuse it to superstition and idolatry, and in itself it is entirely useless.
C. Do you then say it is a sin to make any cross ?
A. It is no sin in the carpenter, the mason, or the mathe
matician, making crosses, any more than it is in. his making lines and angles.
B. You would take away the liberty of the church, to establish or alter these things.
A. The church is the spouse, and hath no authority to introduce any thing that will dishonour Jesus Christ, her true husband.
B. Hath not the church liberty to use the font, or the bason, or both ?
A. The church may use that which is necessary, to hold the water for baptism, as becometh the institution of Christ.
B. But I can shew you that matters of greater importance were altered by the apostles themselves.
A. What are they ?
B. That they might not baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
A. Do you mean that the apostles did not always baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ?
B. Yes; and I can shew you that they did not always use that form of words.—" For," it is said, " as yet the Holy Ghost was come upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord."
A. Because they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, does that prove they were not baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ? How can you from this, charge the apostles with altering the institution of their Master; they baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; therefore, you say, they did not baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Because one part of the action is mentioned, does that prove they did not attend to the other parts ?
C. You may not take such advantage of my lord.
B. I did not say, that the apostles did not baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but that it was probable they did not.
A. Yes, you said you could shew this; and you have not shewn it to be certain, or even probable.
B. The cross, you say, is no part of baptism: only an addition to the sacrament. What say you then of the signification of the cross ?
A. To use such signs, tokens, or instructions in the service of God, which are only the inventions of men, is the fancy of papists. And they draw us not unto the spiritual service of God, but from it.
B. But the cross is used as a token only, that we should not be ashamed of the cross of Christ.
W. And is it not lawful to be taught not to be ashamed of Christ ?
A. Yes; but we may not teach by unlawful means. Where doth the word of God warrant us, that making a cross, signifies that we should not be ashamed of Christ?
W. Would you then take all symbolical signs out of the church of God ?
B. The church hath authority to ordain all symbolical signs, that are useful in the church. Therefore the church hath authority to ordain the cross in baptism.
A. This is only begging the question. You are as far from the mark as ever.
B. Is not the cross a symbolical sign, that is useful in the church of God ?
A. That is the point in dispute, and yet remains to be proved.
B. What scriptures have you against the cross ?
A. In the second commandment, we are forbidden to use in the service of God, " The likeness of any thing." But the cross in baptism is the likeness of something: Therefore the cross in baptism is forbidden, and may not be used.
C. May we not then make the likeness of any thing ?
A. The commandment meaneth, that we should make no likeness of any thing for a religious purpose. We may not make the likeness of any thing in heaven or earth, for a religious purpose. But the cross in baptism is the likeness of something in heaven or earth, and appointed for a religious purpose. Therefore we may not make the cross in baptism. The making of the cross, because for a religious purpose, is here forbidden.
Barker. The cross in baptism is not forbidden in the Jirsi commandment.
A. I did not say it was. It is sufficient that it is forbidden in the second.
Barker. But the same thing is meant in them both.
A. You confound the first and second commandments, and, like the papists, make them to be the same. I must say, this is great ignorance.
Barker. I am not so ignorant as you suppose.
A. Your own words do betray you.
B. You are too captious. He shall reason you out of it. Barker. The making of the cross in baptism is not forbidden
in all the prophets; and, therefore, not in the commandment. > A. You had better first prove, that the cross is not forbidden in all the prophets. Your reasoning is not good.
C. If God have bestowed better gifts upon you, than upon others, you must thank him for it; but not contemn other mens' gifts.
A. God forbid that I should contemn the gifts of God in any man.
B. What say you about kneeling at the communion ?
A. Jesus Christ and his apostles received the communion
sitting, and why may we not imitate them ?
Barker. Jesus Christ, with his apostles, celebrated the communion sitting, because he had immediately before, celebrated the passover sitting.
A. After the celebration of the passover, Christ arose and washed the feet of his.disciples. Then it is said, he did again sit down to celebrate the communion; which shews, that he preferred doing it silting, rather than in any other posture.*
B. Mr. Axton, I have other questions to propose to you. What think you of the calling of bishops, or of my calling ?
A. I am not ignorant of the danger I may fall into, by answering your question. Yet I am not compelled to answer it, not being accused of any crime.
B. Yes, I may compel you to answer upon your oath.
A. But I may choose whether I will answer you upon my oath.
B. I may urge you with your own speeches, which you delivered the last time you were before me.
A. What I then spoke to the glory of God, that will I also speak now.
* The learned Beza, in his letter to Bishop Grindal, said, " If you have rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the practice of adoring the host, why do you symbolize with popery, and seem to hold both by kneeling at the sacrament ? Kneeling had never been thought of, had it not been for transubstantiation." Grindal replied, that though the sacrament was to be received kneeling, yet the rubric accompnnied the service book, and informed the people, that no adoration of the elements was intended. " O I I understand you," said Beza, " there was a certain great lord, who repaired his house, and, having finished it, left before his gate, a great stone, for which he had no occasion. This stone caused many people in the dark to stumble and fall. Complaint was made to his lordship, and many a humble petition was presented, praying for the removal of the stone; but he remained long obstinate. At length, he condescended to order a lanthorn to be hnng over it. My lord, said one, if you would be pleased to rid yourself of further solicitation, and to quiet all parties, order the stone anh the candle to be both removed."—Robinson's Claude, vol. ii. p. 77.
B. You then said, that every minister of God is a bishop, and to be a bishop is only to be a minister of God. You said also, that no bishop in England had authority to excommunicate.
A. I said so, indeed; and proved what I said by the word of God. I am not bound to bring myself into danger; but because I am persuaded it will advance God's glory, I will speak, be the consequence what it will. I trust in the Holy Spirit, that I shall be willing to die in defence of the truth.
B. Then what say you of my calling ?
A. You are not lawfully called to be a bishop, according to the word of God.
B. I thought so: But why ?
A. For three reasons,—1. Because you were not ordained by the consent of the eldership.
B. But I had the hands of three or four bishops.
A. That is not the eldership St. Paul speaks of, 1 Tim. iv. 14.
B. By what eldership were you ordained ? Was it not by a bishop ?
A. I had, indeed, the laying on of the hands of one of the bishops of England, but that was the least part of my calling.
B. What calling had you more ?
A. I having exercised and expounded the word several times in an orderly assembly of ten ministers, they joined in prayer; and being required to speak their consciences, they declared upon the trial they had of me, that they were persuaded I might become a profitable labourer in the house of God. After this I received the laying on of the hand of the bishop.
B. But you had not the laying on of the hands of those preachers.
A. No: I had the substance, but wanted the accident; and in this, I beseech the Lord to be merciful unto me. For the laying on of hands, as it is the word, so it is agreeable to the mighty action of ordaining the ministers God.
A. Then your ordination is imperfect as well as mine.
A. Mine is imperfect for want of the accident: the Lord be merciful to me for it. And yours is imperfect for want of the substance.
B. What is your second reason ?
A. Because you are not ordained bishop over any onefioch. Nay, you are not a pastor to any one congregation, contrary to 1 Pet. v. 2. and Acts xiv. 23., " Feed the flock;." From which it is manifest there should be a bishop and elders in every congregation. . B. What is a congregation ?
A. Not a whole diocese, but such a number of people as ordinarily assemble in one place, to hear the word of God.
B. What if you had a parish six or seven miles long, where many could not come to hear you once in a quarter of a year ?
A. I would not be pastor of such a flock.
B. What is your third reason ?
A. Because you are not chosen by the people. Acts xiv. 23.
C. How came you to be parson of Moreton Corbet ?
A. I am no parson.
C. Are you then vicar ?
A. No: I am no vicar. I abhor those names as antichristian. I am pastor of the congregation there.
C. Are you neither parson nor vicar ? How hold you the living ?
A. I receive those temporal things of the people, because, being their pastor, I minister to them spiritual things.
C. If you be neither parson nor vicar, you must receive no profit.
A. Do you mean in good faith what you say ?
C. Yea, if you will be neither parson nor vicar, there is good cause why another should.
B. You must understand, that all livings in the church are given to ministers as parsons and vicars, and not as pastors and ministers.
A. I am sure the names of parsons and vicars were not given by Jesus Christ, but by antichrist.
B. How were you chosen pastor ?
A. By the free election of the people, according to the word of God.
B. Why, did not the patron place you there ?
A. The patron allowed the people the free choice of their minister; and after I had preached about six weeks by way of probation, I was chosen by one consent of them all, and a sermon was preached by one of my brethren, setting forth the mutual duties of pastor and people.
B. May the bishops of England ordain ministers ?
A. You ought not to do it in the manner you do, without the consent of the eldership, without sufficient proof of their qualifications, and without ordaining them to some parti* cular congregation.-
Tol. i. u
C. How do you like my lord's book of articles.
A. Some of the articles approach near to the institution of the apostles, but the best of them appear to be very little practised.
B. 1 admit none to the ministry but those who have a recommendation from some nobleman or gentleman.
A. You had need beware of breaking the institution of God. This door being opened, will admit thieves and robbers. The Lord give you a sound conscience to keep hirelings out of the church of God.
B. Well, Mr. Axton, you must yield in some things to me, and I will yield in some things to you. I will not trouble you about the cross in baptism, if you will sometimes wear the surplice.
A. I cannot consent to wear the surplice: it is against my conscience. I trust, by the help of God, I shall never put on that sleeve which is the mark of the beast.
B. Will you leave your flock for the surplice ?
A. Nay : Will you persecute me from my flock for the surplice? I love my flock in Jesus Christ, and had rather have my right'arm cut off than be removed from them.
B. Well, I will not deprive you at this time.
A. I beseech you consider what you do in removing me from my flock, seeing I am not come in at the window, nor by simony, but according to the institution of Jesus Christ.*
The second day's conference concluded as above, when Mr. Axton was taken away, the bishop requiring his future attendance. Accordingly, upon his appearance at the time appointed, he underwent a third examination concerning the use of instrumental music in the public worship of God, and obedience to the queen's laws, with some other things. Being questioned about the use of organs in public worship, he replied as follows :
A. They are Jewish, and not to be used in christian congregations.
Bickley. Did not David command organs and cymbals to be used ?
A. That command was ceremonial, and is abrogated. Bickley. You will then abrogate singing in the church,
A. Piping with instruments is abolished.
Bickley. How do you prove that?
A. Because our joy in public worship must be more
• MS. Register, p. 37—50.
spiritual than that of the Jews ; and it is said, that in the time of the gospel, all shall sing praises unto God.
Bickley. The organs are used before the prince.
A. That does not prove them to be lawful.
Bickley. The organs are used before the prince, and therefore they are lawful. The argument is good.
A. Do you then reason, that the cross in churches is lawful, because it used to stand before the prince ?
Bickley. As it stood before the prince, it might have been lawfully used.
A.- From what you say, tapers, and lights, and nearly all the trash of popery, may still be lawfully used.
Bickley. If you had the cross on which Christ died, would you say it was of no use ?
A. After the crucifixion of Christ, as well as before, the cross on which he died was the same as any other piece of wood.
B. But, in refusing the surplice, you are disloyal to the queen, and shew your contempt of her laws.
A. In charging me with disloyalty, you do me great injury; and especially when you call me and my brethren traitors, and say, that we are more troublesome subjects than papists.
B. I say the same still. The papists are afraid to stir; but you are presumptuous, and disquiet the state more than papists.
A. If I, or any others who fear God, speak the truth, doth this disquiet the state? The papists for twelve years have been plotting treason against the queen and the gospel, yet this doth not grieve you. But I protest in the presence of God and you all, that I am a true and faithful subject to her majesty. I pray daily, both in public and private, for her safety, for her long and prosperous reign, and for the overthrow of all her enemies, especially the papists. I do profess myself an enemy to her enemies, and a friend to her friends. If, therefore, you have any conscience, cease to charge me with disloyalty to my prince.
B. Seeing you refuse to wear the surplice, which her majesty hath commanded, you do in effect deny her to be supreme governess in all causes ecclesiastical and temporal.
A. I do so far admit her majesty's supremacy, that if there be any error among the governors of the church, she has power to reform it: but I do not admit her to be an ecclesiastical elder, or church governor.
B. Yes, but she is, and hath full power and authority all taanner of ways. Indeed, she doth not administer the sacraments and preach, but leaveth those things to us. But if she were a man, as she is a woman, why might she not preach the word, as well as ourselves ?
A. Might she preach the word of God, if she were a man ? Then she might also administer the sacraments.
B. That does not follow. For you know Paul preached, but did not baptize.
A. Paul confesseth that he did baptize, though he was sent especially to preach.
B. Did not Moses teach the people, and yet he was a civil governor.
A. The calling of Moses was extraordinary. Remember the king of Judab, how he would have sacrificed in the temple of God. Take heed how you confound those offices which God hath distinguished.
B. You see how he runneth.
Bickley. He speaketh very confidently and rashly.
B. This is his arrogant spirit.
Sale. Why should you refuse the surplice, seeing the queen hath commanded it ?
Bickley. The queen hath authority to command all things indifferent.
A. If those things be decent, tend to edification, and promote God's glory; but the surplice does none of these.
Bickley. Has not the church liberty to command the surplice to be used, as well as any other garment ?
A. No: because the surplice hath been abused, and is still abused, by the papists, in their superstition and idolatry.
Bickley. I deny your reasons.
A. I prove what I said thus: God will not allow his church to borrow ceremonies from idolators, or to imitate them in their ceremonies, as is evident from Ezekiel xliv. But the papists are idolators. Therefore, God will not allow us to borrow our ceremonies, as garments and other things, from the papists.
Bickley. How do you prove that out of Ezekiel ?
A. I prove it thus: The Egyptian priests used to shave their heads; but God commanded his priests should not shave. The Egyptian priests used to drink wine: but God commanded his priests, that when they did sacrifice, they should not drink wine. And the Egyptian priests wore linen garments before the people: but God commanded that his priests should not sanctify the people with their garments.
B. God commanded the contrary. Do you not remember the garments of Aaron i
A. I do remember them. But if you would wear the garments of Aaron, you must attend to the other ceremonies of Aaron's priesthood.
B. Shew your place in Ezekiel. There is no such place. You are deceived.
A. I will thank you for a Bible.
B. You should have brought your own books with you. You see, I have brought my books.
A. And have you not a Bible among them ? I pray you let me have a Bible.
B. Let him have the Hebrew Bible.
A. I pray you, let me have the Hebrew Bible.
Bickley. Then let us hear you read the place.
A. The place is this: " And when they go forth into the outer court, even into the outer court of the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments."*
Here the dispute broke off. And notwithstanding all his entreaties and supplications, though the bishop t acknowledged him to be a divine of good learning, a strong memory, and well qualified for the pulpit, the good man was deprived of his living, and driven to seek his bread
• MS. Register, p. 50—56.
+ Bishop Bentham complied with popery in the reign of Henry VIII., but afterwards repented. Upon the accession of Queen Mary, being perpetual fellow of Magdalen college, Oxford, he was required to correct the junior scholars for their absence from the popish worship, but refused, saying, " He had indeed but too much repented of his compliance with the popish religion atready ; and he esteemed it unjust to punish that in others, which he himself would willingly and knowingly do." He was one of the preachers to the protestant congregation which assembled in private places, during this queen's reign; and it is said, " that by his encouragement and constant preaching, the protestants did not only stand to their former principle, but were resolved to suffer whatever could belaid upon them, rather than forfeit a good conscience." He witnessed the sufferings of many of the martyrs ; and notwithstanding the cruel proclamation, " that no man •hould either pray for or speak to them, or once say God bless them," Bentham seeing the fire set to some of them, turned his eyes to the people, and said, " We know they are the people of God, and therefore we cannot choose but wish them well, and say God strengthen them:" and so he boldly cried out, " Almighty God, for Christ's sake, strengthen them 1" upon which all the people with one accord, cried, jmen, Amen; the noise of which was so great, from the vast crowd of people, that the officers knew not whom to seize, or against whom to bring their accusations. Bentham would have done well to have remembered these things when he became a lord bishop, and a persecutor of his fellow protestants.—Biographia BrUan. jol. ii. p. 208. Edit. 1778. . .
in a foreign land. But, surely, such proceedings were unworthy of a protestant prelate, and too obvious an imitation of the popish severities. Do we find any such proceedings in the first ages of the church of Christ ? "lain sure," says the learned Dr. Stillingfleet, " it is contrary to the primitive practice, and the moderation then used, to suspend or deprive men of their ministerial functions, for not consenting to habits, gestures, and the like."* . •