Richard Allen

Richard Allen.—He was minister at Ednam in Lincolnshire, a good preacher, and much beloved, but greatly harassed for nonconformity. In the year 1583, upon the

Jmblication of Whitgift's three articles, he was suspended rom his ministerial exercise, for refusing the imposed subscription. There were upwards of twenty others, all ministers in Lincolnshire, suspended at the same time. Having received the ecclesiastical censure, they presented a supplication to the lords of the council, earnestly wishing to procure their favourable mediation; but, probably, without any good effect: the ruling prelates usually remained inflexible. In this supplication, they express themselves as follows:

" For as much, right honourable, as we whose names are underwritten, whom the Lord in rich mercy hath placed over some of his people in Lincolnshire, as pastors to feed them with the word of truth, do humbly beseech your honours to regard the pitiful and woeful state of our congregations in those parts; which being destitute of our ministry, by means of the subscription now generally and

strictly urged by the bishops, do mourn and lament. It is well known to all your honours, that an absolute subscription is required through the whole province of Canterbury, to three articles. As to the first and third, relating to • her majesty's supreme authority and the articles of religion, we most willingly offer our subscription, as always heretofore we have done ; but cannot be accepted without an absolute subscription to the other, to which we dare not condescend, being all of us unresolved and unsatisfied in our consciences about many points in the Common Prayer. May it further please your honours favourably to consider, that, in refusing an absolute subscription, we do it not out of arrogancy, or singularity, but because we are in doubts about divers . weighty matters: and fearing to subscribe as we were urged, we are all suspended from exercising the function of the ministry among our people, to the great damage of their souls, and our great injury. Wherefore, being persuaded that our cause is the cause of Christ and his church, we humbly beseech your honours, that with favour it may be considered. And seeing we cannot be impeached of false doctrine, nor of contempt of her majesty's laws, nor of refusal to use the book of prayer, nor of breeding contention or sedition in the church, we crave that we may be resiored to our flocks; and that with all peace of conscience, we may go forwards in the Lord's work, in our several . places. Signed by

" Richard Allen, John Prior,

John Daniel, Charles Bingham,

Thomas Tripler, John Summerscales,

Mr. Shepherd, Anthony Hunt,

Henry Nelson, Reinold Grome,

Matthew Thompson, William Munning, .
Thomas Bradley, John Wintle,

Thomas Folbeck, Humphrid. Stravers,

. Hugh Tiike, Rich. Housworth,

Joseph Gibson, Rich. Kellet."*

James Worship, Though it does not appear how long Mr. Allen remained under the episcopal censure, he was at length restored to his ministry, and was preacher at Louth, in the above county; but in the year 1596, he was brought into fresh troubles by Judge Anderson. Having sometimes omitted . part of the prayers for the sake of the sermon, he was

? MS. Register, p. 331.

indicted at the assizes, for not reading them all. He was obliged to hold up his hand at the bar; when Anderson standing up, addressed him with a most fierce countenance. The angry judge, after insinuating that he was guilty of some most grievous crimes, though he mentioned none, oftentimes called him knave, and rebellious knave, and treated him with many other vile reproaches, not allowing him to speak in his own defence. Under this opprobrious treatment, Mr. Allen behaved himself with all humility and submission ; not rendering railing for railing, but the contrary. Anderson in his charge said, that he would hunt all the puritans out of his circuit.

In Mr. Allen's arraignment, one thing was very remarkable. During his trial, some point coming under consideration, wherein judgment in divinity was required, the good man referred himself to his ordinary, the bishop, then sitting on the bench: but the judge, with marvellous indignation, interrupted him, saying, 1 am your ordinary and bishop loo, in this place, and challenged any one to take his part. He was, indeed, so enraged against the good man, that when Sir George Sampol signified very softly to the judge, that Mr. Allen was an honest man and of a good conversation, his lordship could not help manifesting his displeasure.* It does not appear what followed this prosecution, or whether Mr. Allen was released. We may sec^ however, from this instance, as well as many others, that the puritan ministers were set on a level with the vilest criminals, to the great disgrace of their olKce, and the loss of their reputation and usefulness. .