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[ The trial of Mr. John Erbury. ] - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 2 
The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (Camden Society, 1894). 4 vols.
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[The trial of Mr. John Erbury.]
Checquer Chamber, 8th Febr. (52).
Committee of Plundred Ministers.
Mr. Millington, Chayreman.
a Maj. Gen: Skippon, Mr. Cawley, Coll: Rich, & divers others Mr. Phelps Clark. Neere the Barr on the Right hand Capt. Chillenden & witnesses against Erbery.
Coll: Cobbett, myself, & about 4 or 500 more, 2 or 3 files Musqteers & 2 Officers.
All other Motions layd aside & checkt.
Then Phelps reade how farr they proceeded last time.
I heard Mr. Erbery say, That these saints are much against the sinnes of Adultery outwardly, but comitt them wholly inwardly; also a poore Ranter hes but one night in a moneth with a whore, but these saints this wel-favor’d harlott can lye with twenty betweene this and Westminster.
Maj. Gen. Skippon.
I think hee said Christ was a Beast.
Right Reverend, give mee leave to speake a word for my self.
Stay you a while. Capt. Chillenden declare what hee said concerning Christ being a Beast.
Mr. Phelps hath it already. Butt hee declared all the Prophettes were Beasts, soe hee came to Christ, & that hee would confound all formes etc.
I hope the Lord in you is judge this day.
Hee said. Don’t wee see a morall man hee continues in his morality still, but your Church Members & holy men continue in sin, & the Ranters were the holyest in the nacion but their knowledge came to nothing, & that Christ was a Beast, the apostles & prophetts were Beasts & knew nothing, the Saints or Church Members knew nothing, nor hee knew nothing. God in us knew all, but wee nothing, 65 Isaiah 20 etc. ‘There shalbe noe more an infant of daies’ etc. That hee knew God was coming to destroy the knowledge of all the Saints as they call themselves.
Mr. Gray what can you say. But why appear’d you not att first sumons?
I onely received the last sumons. It was not out of feare, favour, or affeccon.
1. Mr. Erbery called the bread of the Lords Supper uncleane bread, & hee said because it was the bread of mourners, & will yee sitt downe att the Table of whores; yee cannot discerne the Lords body lyes in Babilon.
2. Concerning Baptisme, 9 Proverbs, 17, ‘Stolen waters are sweete.’ The waters of Babilon are stolen, they are wordes of the whore. 18 Rev. 22, “And the voice of Harpers musick, etc. Yee shall have Baptisme noe more, Lords Supper noe more, preaching noe more.
3. 30 Isaiah. By removing there into Corners is ment pulpitt preachers, such yee shall have noe more; every object shall teach you, your food & rayement shall teach you.
4. That prayer was a work of God, & when the Spiritt of Christ came in the flesh it did consume, 66 Isa. Christ as a worme will consume, corode, & destroy the flesh, faith etc.
5. When Christ was neerest dissolucion of his flesh then the Spiritt of prayer forsook him, hee prayed onely these few words, ‘Father lett this Cupp pass,’ etc. I tell you this came from the darkness of his Spiritt.
2d. Article. Mr. Phelps reads:
‘That hee blasphemously preached downe the Godhead of Christ.’
That Christ would consume our faith. I wonder what evill men see in the Turkish Alcheron. When Christ comes into your flesh, hee will make you in love with all Religions, yea Papists & all. Hee dyed the just for the unjust is mistaken, for Christ in the Spiritt will destroy your flesh that hee may bring you to God.
Luke saith hee was Crucified in the 9th houre, & John who was onely present att his death the 6th.
That Christ dyed not for pardon of sin, or [to] satisfy the Father, but [to] declare the Father’s love.
Those Churches call’d Anabaptists etc. & State governments, all those formes, saith hee, God will destroy.
What can you say Mr. Pemberton?
I was att Somersett House & heard Mr. Erbury on the 8th Revelacon 1st, uppon opening the 7th seale, ‘and there was silence in heaven for ye space of half an howre.’ Hee said Christ was going out of all formes. 12 Rev: 1st, concerning the woeman clothed with the Sun & the Moone under her feete, [those] were the Ordinances which shold now cease. 18 Rev: [22nd], when the noise of the Harpers shalbe noe more, which was the comon preaching & singing wee now have. This noise was hee said the musick of Babilon, & further as hee said, as God was going out of all these formes soe that there was a more glorious manifestacon of God coming out this day, vizt. a 3d dispensacon never knowne to the Saints of old, diffring from the law & gospell Order. What saies God, remember not former things, I will doe a new thing saith God, soe are wee, as hee was perfectly one with God soe are wee. When Christ came to suffrings the Spiritt of prayer dyed in him, shewing the feebleness & confusion of his Spiritt hereby. It pleased the Lord to bruise him, his understanding was confounded, hee was afraid & knew not what hee said. Hee tooke Peter & James with him because hee was afraid to goe alone; that the darkness then was the confusion of his understanding.
And the Vaile of the Temple was rent fro topp to bottome, hee was onely amased, for what was the Vaile but our pure flesh, our guifts, our graces, our performances. This is the flesh of Christ, all of them shalbe torne from highest attainements to lowest performances.
What have you to say Mr. Erbery?
I humbly thank this Honorable Committee for having liberty once more to speak heere before you. It is thus, I told you the first time the power of the Lord uppon my Spiritt. I came to London to preach onely the New Jerusalem. I confess most what the last evidence said is true; but because I am charg’d by Capt: Chillington [with saying] that Christ is a Beast, & that the Saints & all men knew nothing, I knew nothing. But had I now withheld my coming Capt. Chillington had slided his necke out of the collar; and for mee to say that hee was worse than a Beast, I onely said hee was worse then a goose.a
Mr. Millington then checkt him.
True I said the Churches were a welfavor’d harlott, Ezek. 30. I told the old prelatick Churches they were an old rotten whore, but these a fayre whore, but the Presbytereans call the Independent Churches whore, & the Independent call them whore againe, & I say they are all whores together. Isa. 47, that whore said, I am a Queene, but the Scripture saith shee is a whore, her knowledge hath deceived her. I speake as in the presence of God, I meane nothing against the Saints, but [against] Apostates; nay it hath been preacht publiquely in Blackfryers, if men would have good places they must goe into the Independent Churches.
11 Job. 12. Vaine man would bee wise, though born as an Asses Colt. 49 Psal.: 12,a man being in honor abideth not, but becomes as a Beast that perisheth, & wisest men have proved the greatest fooles.
Moses a Minister of the law, some say his face shined, but the originall renders it horned, beastlike.
As Christ to the theife on the Cross—This day shalt thou bee with mee in Paradice. God onely is wise, & that any man account himself soe Ile say hee is as the wild Asses Colt. Every man is a Beast. The prophett speaking of Christ, 30 Pro: saith, ‘I am more brutish then any man.’ Christ is the Glory of the Father. The word wisedome & power of God in the Father. Christ was in God from Eternity, but became man. The words in Hebrew, Adam signifies weakness or dust of the Earth, 2d Ish: man also but signifies heat. 31 Jer: A woman shall compass a man. All that appeared to Christ was in the power of the Father.
Baptisme & Lords Supper, as in the Anabaptists & Independent Churches, were not Gospell Ordinances. Baptisme of the Spiritt was by power from on high, but the apostles could not goe forth till it came, though comaunded.
They delude their hearers with this word teach & baptize etc. But they mince & cutt the word in halfs.
As breaking of bread among the Churches is uncleane to them it is the bread of mourners.
There was in Gospell times noe breaking of bread but by a spirituall breaking; there was formerly but one body, one bread, one Church, one Baptisme, but heere all is in a confusion; therefore Christs body is in Babilon, & one clashing against another, & now I waite when the spiritt will appeare to make us all one & convince us of our being yet in Babilon.
Must wee have candles or withdraw?
Some said noe candles, but deferr it till next Tewsday.
Then lett the Company withdraw.
C. Chillenden (aloud).
He said that Christ in flesh was a Beast, & that I was worse than Balaams ass, for that spoke truth, but I a lye; consider it.
Wee’le withdraw, [and] heare noe more now.a
[a ]“Yeares” MS.
[a ]“Hee,” i.e. Chillenden.
[a ]MS. 46 Gal. Several errors in the refs. to chapter and verse have been corrected.
[a ]From Mr. Popham’s MSS.