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John Rogers

John Rogers.—This zealous man was first employed in teaching school, then presented to the rectory of Purlcigh in Essex, worth about two hundred pounds a year. But it is said he became a nonresident; and, hiring another to supply his place, he removed to London, and became lecturer at

• Worthies, part i. p. 25.—Church Hist. b. xi. p. 213.
+ Wood's Athena- Oxon. vol. ii. p. 151, 152.
X Palmer'i Noncon. Mem. vol. ii. p. 81.

St. Thomas the Apostle's, but was soon after ejected. This kind of usage very much troubled him, and he petitioned the lords commissioners for his restoration, but without success." He afterwards went to Ireland, most probably with the English army, and was chosen minister of Christ's church, Dublin. But the exact time of his return to England we have not been able to learn. He was a zealous and active man, and in his principles a fifth monarchy-man, and of the baptist persuasion. About the year 1649> he married the daughter of Sir Robert Paine of Huntingdonshire. Wood denominates him " a notorious fif'tli monarchy-man and an anabaptist, and a busy, pragmatical fellow;" and says, " he was very zealous to promote a quarrel between his party and Oliver Cromwell, for seeming to unite with them till he had got the reins of government into his own hands, and then leaving them with scorn. He, with Mr. Christopher Feake, one as impudent and forward as himself, were the leaders of their party, and not wanting on all occasions to raise a commotion."t

Mr. Rogers, as well as his brethren, was extremely hostile to Cromwell's government. He openly declared his sentiments against it. In his prayer before the public congregation, he used many such expressions as these: "Hasten the time, when all absolute power shall be devolved into the hands of Christ; when we shall have no lord protector, but one Lord Jesus Christ, the only true protector and defender of the faith. Look in mercy on thy saints at Windsor, who are imprisoned lor the truth and testimony of Jesus: be thou their freedom and enlargement."* Having repeatedly declared against Cromwell's usurpation, both by preaching and writing, he was apprehended and cast into prison.{ This was about the year 1654. Mr. Rogers and several of his brethren were confined at Lambeth, when no one of their party was allowed to have access to them. In the "Declaration of several of the churches of Christ," subscribed and published during this year, twenty-five of them are said to have subscribed "in the name of the whole body that walks with Mr. Rogers, now prisoner for this cause of Christ at Lambeth prison."||

Mr. Rogers, after remaining in confinement some time, was joined by his friends, who presented a petition to Cromwell for his enlargement; upon which he was brought before the protector's council at Whitehall. The council told him that there were high charges against him, and that he was not a prisoner in the cause of Christ, but suffered as a busy-body and an evil doer. His friends desiring that the cause might be debated betwixt the protector and himself, their request was granted. The same evening, therefore, Mr. Rogers waa admitted into the presence of Cromwell; and being reminded of the high charge exhibited against him, it is said, he declared that they who brought the charge were drunkards and swearers. B-ut when the protector asked him which of them were, he could name none of them. When the protector pressed him for scripture, in support of his principles and conduct, he said the scripture was positive and privative; and being asked which of the evil kings whom God destroyed, he would compare with the present state, he gave no answer. "Whereupon the protector," our author adds, " shewed what a disproportion there was: those being such as laboured to destroy the people'of God, but his work, (speaking of himself,) was to preserve them from destroying one another; and that if the sole power was irt the hands of the presbyterians, the fifth monarchy-men, or the persons re-baptized, they would force all their own way: but his work was to keep all the godly of several judgments in peace." When Mr. Rogers spoke against a national ministry and a national church, applying it to what was done in the commonwealth, calling it antichristian, the protector told him it was not so; for a national church endeavoured to force all into one form.*

* Thurlor'i State Papers, rot. iii. p. 485.

+ Athens Oxoo. vol. ii. p. 442.

t Taurine's State Papers, vol. iii. p. 483.

S Ludlow's Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 490. Edit. 1699.

!! Declaration, p. SI.

Several persons of respectability and influence having afterwards interceded with the protector for the release of Mr. Rogers, Mr. Feake, and others, or to have them brought to trial; the protector said, that out of mercy he kept them from trial; " because," said he, "if they were to be tried, the law would take away their lives." They were, therefore, sent back to prison. On March 31, 1655, Mr. Rogers, by an order from Cromwell and his council, was removed from his prison in the city to Windsor-castle.+ Here it is probable he remained a prisoner for some time. He was living in the year 1659; but whether he survived the restoration we have not been able to ascertain.- Granger styles him "a great fanatic," adding, " that he was no less popular among the anabaptists and fifth monarchy-men, than Love was

• Wood'i Athene Oxon. vol. ii. p. 442. * Ibid.

among the presbyterians." After Cromwell had deserted these sectaries, he took umbrage at the great popularity and cnterprizing spirit of Rogers; and was little less apprehensive of Feake, who was also regarded as a leader of that party. They were both imprisoned, and the protector was thought to act with extraordinary clemency in sparing their lives. This was imputed to a secret regard that he retained for his old friends, the independents.* Mr. Rogers's writings are very singular. One of his books is entitled, "A Tabernacle for the Sun, or Irenicum Evangelicum, an Idea of Church Discipline," 1653. In the same year Mr. Crofton published a smart reply to this work, entitled, " Bethshemesh Clouded, or some Animadversions on the Rabbinical Talmud of Rabbi John Rogers." Another of his pieces is entitled, "A Christian Concertation with Mr. Prynne, Mr. Baxter, and Mr. James Harrington, for the true Cause of the Commonwealth," 1659

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