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APPENDIX - John Robinson, The Works of John Robinson, vol. 3 
The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols (London: John Snow, 1851). Vol. 3.
Part of: The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols.
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THE CHURCH IN SOUTHWARK.
An intimate relationship existed between the church at Leyden and the “faithful brethren “in Southwark, recognized by Robinson, in. a letter addressed to them, April 5, 1624, on the removal of their first pastor, as a “true church.” The object of this paper is to trace the incidents which led to its formation, and to give a rapid sketch of its subsequent course.
In 1586, we find John Greenwood, B.A., a close prisoner in the Clink, Southwark, for his testimony to the simple church polity of the New Testament.* On the Lord's-day morning, the 19th of November, in the sam'e year, he was visited by his devoted friend and fellow-collegian, henry barrowe, B.A., the enlightened and zealous advocate, with himself, of congregational principles. The keeper of the prison took advantage of this visit of condolence, to secure an additional captive; and in a quarter of an hour, while these companions in the faith were conversing together, he turned the key upon them both.† At one o'clock, Barrowe was put into a boat, and as he was rowed to Lambeth, in the custody of the pursuivant, a letter was placed in his hand, explaining the cause of his arrest. On landing at the palace, he was brought before the commissioners, specially summoned by Archbishop Whitgift for the occasion, and subjected to an examination intended to involve him in the meshes of prelatical power.
At a subsequent period, these noble confessors were, twice, taken in a cart to the foot of the gallows, and by alternate threats and expostulations, urged to recant. They adhered to their convictions, however, and shortly afterward suffered together, on the 6th of May, 1593, attesting, in this way, by a kind of triple martyrdom, their firm persuasion of the truth.* In the “Dialogues of Governor Bradford,” an interesting account is given of Barrowe's conversion.†
During an imprisonment, which extended over five or six years, Barrowe and Greenwood found opportunity, though not without difficulty, to write in defence of their scriptural views, and sent their manuscripts to Holland for publication. Amongst other important documents transmitted for this purpose, was a treatise containing their joint answer to the writings of Giffard. Respecting this prison production, the “Ancient Men,” in Governor Bradford's “Dialogues,” relate the following particulars:—
“When Mr. Barrowe's and Mr. Greenwood's refutation of Giffard was privately in printing in this city (Middleburgh), Francis Johnson not only was a means to discover it, but was made the ambassador's instrument to intercept them (the copies) at the press, and see them burnt; the which charge he did so well perform, as he let them go on until they were wholly finished, and then, by the magistrate's authority, caused them to be speedily burnt; himself standing by until they were all consumed to ashes. Only he took up two of them, one to keep in his own study, that he might see their errors, and the other to bestow on a special friend for the like use. But mark the sequel. When he had done this work, he went home and superficially read some things here and there, as his fancy led him. At length, he met with something that begun to work upon his spirit, which so wrought with him, as drew him to this resolution,—seriously to read over the whole book; the which he did once and again. In the end, he was so taken, and his conscience was troubled so, as he could have no rest in himself until he crossed the seas, and came to London to confer with the authors, who were then in prison, and shortly after executed. After which conference, he was so satisfied and confirmed in the truth, as he never returned to his place any more at Middleburgh, but adjoined himself to their society at London, and was afterwards committed to prison, and then banished; and in conclusion, coming to live at Amsterdam, he caused the same books which he had been an instrument to burn, to be new printed, and set out at his own charge. And some of us here present testify this to be a true relation, which we heard from his own mouth before many witnesses.”*
Francis Johnson Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, concerning whom the preceding statement is made, became the leader of a Christian society, meeting (1593) in No. 80 Nicholas-lane, Lombard-street, a place not far distant from Southwark, on the opposite bank of the river.† His views did not coincide entirely with those of the Congregational order; but for his zeal, intrepidity, and self-denying devotedness, his name is worthy of enduring remembrance. “My care and desire,” he says, “I thank God, have been, and I trust, shall be alway, to receive and follow the truth in love, with peace and holiness.” He is referred to, in terms of great esteem and affection, by John Penry, M.A., the Nonconformist martyr, who was executed at St. Thomas-a-Watering, Old Kent-road, Southwark, May 29, 1593. In the letter, dated April 24, 1593, from his cell, King's Bench prison, then on the north of St. George's church, Borough, that devoted champion, for truth and freedom writes in this affecting strain:—“I thank my God, I am not only ready to be bound and banished, but even to die in this cause, by his strength. Yea, my brethren, I greatly long, in regard of myself, to be dissolved, and to live in the blessed kingdom of heaven, with Jesus Christ and his angels; with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Job, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul, the great apostle of the Gentiles, and the rest of the holy saints, both men and women; with the glorious kings, prophets, and martyrs, and witnesses of Jesus Christ, that have been from the beginning of the world; particularly with my two dear brethren, Mr. Henry Barrowe and Mr. John Greenwood, which have, last of all, yielded their blood for this precious ‘ testimony;’ confessing unto you, my brethren and sisters, that if I might live upon the earth the days of Methuselah twice told, and that in no less comfort than Peter, James, and John were in the Mount; and after this life, might be sure of ‘ the kingdom of heaven,’ that yet to gain all this, I durst not go from the former ‘testimony.’ … . . I would indeed, if it be His good pleasure, live yet with you, to help you to bear that grievous and hard yoke which yet ye are like to sustain, either here or in a strange land.
“And, my good brethren, seeing banishment, with loss of goods, is likely to betide you all, prepare yourselves for this hard entreaty, and rejoice that you are made worthy for Christ's cause to suffer and bear all things. And I beseech you, ‘in the bowels of Jesus Christ,’ that none of you, in this case, look upon his particular estate; but regard the general state of the church of God, that the same may go, and be kept together, whithersoever it shall please God to send you.
“Let not those of you, then, that either have stocks in your hands, or some likely trades to live by, dispose of yourselves where it may be most commodious for your outward estate, and, in the mean time, suffer the poor ones, that have no such means, either to bear the whole work upon their weak shoulders, or to end their days in sorrow and mourning, for want of outward and inward comforts, in the land of strangers; for the Lord will be an avenger of all such dealings. But consult with the whole church, yea, with the brethren of other places, how the church may be kept together and built, whithersoever they go. Let not the poor and the friendless be forced to stay behind here, and to break a good conscience, for want of your support and kindness unto them, that they may go with you. And here I humbly beseech you, not in any outward regard, as I shall answer before my God, that you would take my poor and desolate widow, and my mess of fatherless and friendless orphans, with you into exile, whithersoever you go: and you shall find, I doubt not, that the blessed promises of my God made unto me and mine, will accompany them, and even the whole church, for their sakes; for this also is the Lord's promise unto the holy seed; as you shall not need much to demand what they shall eat, or wherewith they shall be clothed; and in short time, I doubt not but they will be found helpful and not burdensome to the church: only, I beseech you, let them not continue in this land, where they must be forced to go again into Egypt, and my God will bless you even with a joyful return into your own country for it. There are of you, I doubt not, will be careful of the performance of the will of your dead brother, in this point, who may yet live to show this kindness unto yours: I will say no more.
“Be kind, loving, and tender-hearted, the one of you towards the other; labour every way to increase love, and to show the duties of love one of you towards another; by visiting, comforting, and relieving one the other, even for ‘ the reproach of the heathen’ that are round about us, as the Lord saith. Be watching in prayer; especially remember those of our brethren that are especially endangered. … . Pray for them, my brethren, and for our brother, Mr. Francis Johnson, and for me, who am likely to end my days either with them or before them; that our God may spare us unto his church, if it be his good pleasure, or give us exceeding faithfulness. And be every way comfortable unto the sister and wife of the dead, I mean unto my beloved M. Barrowe and M. Greenwood, whom I most heartily salute, and desire much to be comforted in their God, who, by his blessings from above, will countervail unto them the want of so notable a brother and a husband. I would wish you earnestly to write, yea, to send, if you may, to comfort the brethren in the west and north countries, that they faint not in these troubles; and that also you may have of their advice, and they of yours, what to do in these desolate times… Yea, I wish you and them to be together, if you may, whithersoever you shall be banished, and to this purpose, to bethink you beforehand where to be; yea, to send some who may be meet to prepare you some resting-place. And, be all of you assured, that He who is your God in England, will be your God in any land under the whole heaven; for the earth and the fulness thereof are his, and blessed are they that for his cause are bereaved of any part of the same.”*
He died in faith. In the “Protestation before his Death,” addressed to the Lord Treasurer, he says:— “Being now to end my days before I am come to the one half of my years, in the likely course of nature, I leave the success of my labours unto such of my countrymen as the Lord is to raise after me.”
The righteous succession was maintained. Francis Johnson, one of the “specially endangered,” took the place of the martyrs, Greenwood and Barrowe, and while a prisoner in the Clink, in 1596, wrote in defence of Separation.
Henry Jacob, M.A., beneficed at Cheriton, in Kent, entered into a controversy with him, conducted on both sides with great earnestness and ability. The publisher of Jacob's treatises on the “Defence of the Churches and Ministry of England,” tells us in the preface, that “Mr. Jacob, having some speech with certain of the Separation, concerning their peremptory and utter separation from the churches of England, was requested by them, briefly to set down in writing, his reason for the defence of the said churches, and they would either yield unto his proofs, or procure an answer unto the same. Whereupon, the argument following this preface, was set down in writing by Mr. Jacob, which the said parties did send to Mr. F. Johnson, being then a prisoner in the Clink, Southwark.”
In reply to the argument that the martyrs of the Re formation did not formally separate themselves from the Establishment, Mr. Johnson writes: “When M. Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, &c., died martyrs for the truth of Christ, they neither had themselves, nor joined in spiritual communion with such as had, the prelacy and ministry now pleaded for; and not that only, but were members of that persecuted church in Queen Mary's days, which was separated from the rest of the land as from the world, and joined in covenant by voluntary profession to obey the truth of Christ, and to witness against the abominations of Antichrist. As they also did unto death in the truth they saw, though otherwise, being but as it were in the twilight of the gospel, they had their wants and errors. Yet who is so blind or besotted, as not to see that their errors may not be our rules, neither can be our warrant; but rather that we ought, after their example, faithfully to stand in and for whatsoever truth God revealeth unto us by his Word? And that otherwise these holy martyrs shall rise in judgment against all such, as either withhold the truth in unrighteousness, or in any respect refuse to walk therein.
“Finally, seeing God hath given us his Word to be the light to our feet, and ruler of our lives and religion, what mean you to lead us from it, to the aberrations of any men whatsoever? Should not all people inquire at God, or would you have us to go from the living to the dead? from God and his Word, to men and their errors?”*
Henry Jacob was gained, to the side of truth and became in turn the able and consistent defender of Scriptural Con gregationalism. He published, in 1604, a treatise on the “Necessity of Reforming our Churches in England;” this was followed by his work on ‘ Toleration’ in 1609; and in the succeeding year appeared his treatise on “The Divine Beginning and Institution of Christ's true Visible or Ministerial Church.” This church, he defines to be “a number of faithful people joined, by their willing consent, in a spiritual outward society, or body-politic, ordinarily coming together into one place; instituted by Christ in his New Testament, and having the power to exercise ecclesiastical government, and all God's other spiritual ordinances, the means of salvation, in and for itself immediately from Christ.”
At this period he was at Leyden, in close conference with Robinson. “We, some of us, knew Mr. Parker, Dr. Ames, and Mr. Jacob, in Holland,” say the “Ancient Men,” “when they sojourned for a time in Leyden, and all three boarded together; …. and after Mr. Jacob returned, and Mr. Parker was at Amsterdam, he printed some of his books.”*
The return of Mr. Jacob here mentioned was in 1616. The work of the greatest difficulty, and that which was attended with the most serious peril, was to continue the “testimony borne by the confessors and martyrs in the immediate scene of their sufferings.”
For this arduous service Mr. Jacob was eminently qualified, by his talents, his courage, his discretion and humility. He came to Southwark, the ‘furnace’ of Evangelical nonconformity, to collect the remnant of the London congregation, and to form them into a church state, on the model of the New Testament. The first meeting of this martyrband was held in a private dwelling, on the southern bank of the Thames. The names of Staismore,† Browne, Prior, Almey, Troughton, Allen, Gilbert, Farre and Goodal, are mentioned as present on that memorable occasion. “These, with others (we are told), having observed a day of solemn fasting and prayer for a blessing upon their undertaking, towards the close of the solemnity, each of them made open confession of their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ: and then, standing together, they joined hands, and solemnly covenanted with each other in the presence of Almighty God, to walk together in all God's ways and ordinances, according as He had already revealed, or should further” make them known to them. Mr. Jacob was then chosen pastor by the suffrage of the brotherhood, and others were appointed to the office of deacons, with fasting and prayer and imposition of hands.‡
A declaration of their principles was printed in the same year, accompanied by a petition to James I. This document,* remarkable for the elevation of its sentiments, the sobriety of its diction, and the cogency of its reasoning, will reward the attention of all who take an interest in the march of Christian civilisation. From the charter of man's redemption, the writer asserts, in the name of his brethren, their claim to the full measure of Christian liberty, freedom of inquiry, freedom of association, freedom of worship, freedom of instruction, and freedom in the support of Christian ordinances—freedom in fine, based on conscience, regulated by truth, and perfected in charity.
After a service of eight years, Mr. Jacob, with the consent of his congregation, crossed the Atlantic, to join the pilgrims in America. His motive for this removal was the desire of extended usefulness,† But his career was near its close. He reached the pilgrims only to mingle his remains with kindred dust: but his testimony cannot die. With prophetic confidence he said, “The Lord, I doubt not, will raise up others that shall more effectually bear witness unto this truth in due time. Being with much vehemency charged that for no just cause I have refused to conform to the church order in England, I could therefore do no less but give out, yea, unto posterity, the true and most important reasons of my dissenting herein.”
The pilgrims were impelled by the same motive to depart Leyden. Evidence of this is furnished in a small volume printed in 1619 (the year before the sailing of the “Mayflower”), entitled “An Answer to the Ten Counter Demands, &c., &c. by William Euring.”
In answer to the demand, whether the discipline of the Separatists can be of God, since they gain no converts from the “rude and profane,” Mr. Euring says, “Consider, sir, we are a poor, weak, despised people here in England, hated and persecuted of all, or most part in the land; and, therefore, if we have any meetings or coming together on the Lord's-day, they must be very private, for fear of such persecuting adversaries as cannot endure, and are ignorant of the truth of God's ordinances, to be taught and practised; so that ‘ Papists and Atheists,’ and such like ‘profane’ come not at our exercises: and how is it possible we should convert any that come not to hear us? Amongst the churches in this way, beyond the seas, which have their more free meetings and able ministries, this blessing of God, in converting men, is more seen.
“Your following words, wherein you please to term us ‘refined reformers,’ saying that we seduce only the sound, and pervert and estrange from you those that are otherwise well affected, arid of some understanding, &c., are worth considering.
“It is true, that you say, our cause hath wrought most upon such as have some ‘understanding’ and knowledge, and are of tender consciences, pliable to the truth; others, of more corrupt consciences, have set against us, and against our cause, and blasphemed it.”
In answer to the demand, “Whether it were not the Separatists’ best course to return, or, for the avoiding of scandal, to remove to Virginia, and make a colony there, in hope to convert Infidels to Christianity,” Mr. Euring says, “Although I can partly guess in what humour you propounded this your demand, yet I will not answer you according to that your humour.
... “I do once again entreat you to show us the true form and fashion of your church; and lay you apart all wrath and envious anger, that so we may together, in peace and love, you with us, and we with you, take a view, and consider of your church, and compare the form and fashion thereof with the form and fashion of the true and visible church of Christ, as it is described unto you in the Scripture. And if this good and godly course may be accomplished, not only by myself, but all of us that are now separated from you, would much more willingly and gladly return again, and labour to plant ourselves again in the meanest part of England, to enjoy ‘peace with holiness,’ and to follow the truth in love, among our kindred and friends in our own native country, than either to continue where now many of us live, or to plant ourselves in Virginia, or in any other country hi the world, upon any conditions, or hope of anything in this life whatsoever! Yet even for Virginia thus much—when some of ours desired to have planted ourselves there, with his majesty's leave, upon these three grounds:—first, that they might be the means of Re-planting the gospel amongst the heathen; Secondly, that they might live under the king's government; thirdly, that they might make way for and unite with others, what in them lieth, whose consciences are grieved with the state of the church in England; the bishops did, by all means, oppose them and their friends therein.”*
A faithful successor to Mr. Jacob was found in John Lathrop, a man of earnest but humble spirit, who, for conscience sake, relinquished orders in the Establishment. On the 29th April, 1682, forty-two of the members (including their devoted minister) were apprehended, and sentenced to imprisonment for two years.
“During the term of Mr. Lathrop's imprisonment,” says Nathaniel Morton, author of ‘New England's Memorial,’ published in 1669, “his wife fell sick, of which sickness she died. He procured liberty of the bishop to visit his wife before her death, and commended her to God by prayer, who soon after gave up the ghost. At his return to prison, his poor children being many, repaired to the bishop at Lambeth, and made known unto him their miserable condition, by reason of their good father's being continued in close durance, who commiserated their condition so far as to grant him liberty, who soon after came over into New England.”
With thirty of his congregation he arrived in Boston, 18th September, 1634, in the ship “Griffin,” and in a few days after he proceeded to an early settlement, in the wilderness called Scituate, not many miles from Barnstable, upon Cape Cod.
Though deprived of the counsel of their pastor, the brethren in Southwark were not left without the means of spiritual sustenance. Mr. Canne, author of the “Marginal Reference Bible,” in the earlier part of his career, as well as Mr. Jessey, sometime rector of St. George's, ministered to their comfort and instruction. In the first instance, Mr. Jessey declined the overture made to him on the part of the church, on the ground that he had an earnest desire to settle in New England. The people reminded him that, inasmuch as their necessities were greater, their claim on his services was the stronger. They said, “New England was much better provided with able godly preachers than this nation, in the which so many flocks were destitute.”*
“After Mr. Canne,” says Mr. Neal, the historian of the Puritans, “Mr. Samuel How undertook the pastoral care of this little flock.” During his ministry the church endured great affliction, and to avoid the violence of persecution, its members were often compelled to meet in the fields and woods. On the death of Mr. How, after an interval of bereavement, Mr. Stephen More, a beloved and faithful deacon, at the request of the brethren accepted the oversight of them. He was a man of property, and had valuable connexions in the City; but at the hazard of his estate, and of personal liberty, he did not shrink from the duties of his self-denying office. [An interesting work written by him, entitled, “The Wise Gospel Preacher,” is still extant.] The face of affairs beginning now to change, this poor congregation, which had subsisted almost by a miracle for above twenty-four years, shifting from place to place to avoid the notice of the public, ventured to open their doors in Deadman's-place; but it was not long before they were discovered, and many of them committed to prison.†
On the 18th of January, 1641, the church being assembled on the Lord's-day for religious worship as usual, though not with their former secrecy, they were discovered and taken, and by Sir John Lenthall, Marshal of the King's Bench, committed to the Clink prison. The next morning, six or seven of the men were summoned to appear before the House of Lords: their names are given in the Journals of the Lords, vol. iv. p. 133: Edw. Chillendon, Nic. Tyne, John Webb, Richard Sturges, Thomas Gunn, Jo. Ellis. The Lords examined them strictly concerning their principles, and they as freely acknowledged that they owned no other head of the church but Christ Jesus; that no prince had power to make laws to bind the consciences of men: and, that laws made contrary to the law of God were of no force. “Thereupon the House did order that the said sectaries should receive for this time an admonition from the House, that they shall hereafter repair to their several parish churches to hear Divine service, and to give obedience thereunto, according to the Acts of Parliament of this realm. To that purpose the order was read unto them, made by the House the 16th of January, 1640, and to be told that, if hereafter they do not observe these commands, they shall be severely punished according to law.” Some of the peers inquired where the place of their meeting was, and intimated that they would come and hear them. And accordingly three or four of the peers did go to their meeting on the Lord's-day following, to the great surprise and wonder of many. The people went on in their usual method, having two sermons, in both of which they treated of those principles for which they had been accused, grounding their discourses on the words of our Saviour, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matt. xxviii. 18. After this, they received the Lord's Supper, and then made a collection for the poor, to which the lords contributed liberally with them, and at their departure signified their satisfaction at what they had heard and seen, and their inclination to come again. But this made too much noise, and gave too great an alarm to the mob, for them to venture a second time.*
After this excitement the church seems to have enjoyed an interval of rest. The calm, however, was but temporary, and was followed by a succession of persecuting enactments, aiming at nothing less than the annihilation of Nonconformity. Within twelve years the Parliament passed six laws for this object: the Corporation Act, in 1661; the Act of Uniformity, in 1662; an Act to suppress Seditious Conventicles, 1664; declaring it to be a transportable offence for more than five persons to unite in religious worship, except according to the forms of the Church of England; the Oxford, or Five Mile Act, in 1665, banishing all Nonconformists from corporate towns; the Conventicle Act, in 1670, with some severe additions; and the Test Act, in 1673.
The storm was violent and of long continuance, but the immortal confessors of religious freedom braved it out. Strong in their weakness, and sheltered in their obscurity, they could not be subdued. Amid the desolations caused by the plague, and the fire of London, in 1666, they found an entrance for the Gospel. In the absence of the court and clergy, who fled from the infected capital, these “spiritual heroes” gained converts from the afflicted remnant.
Thomas Wadsworth, M.A., a native of Southwark, the successor of Stephen More, we find at that calamitous period making collections for his distressed brethren at Deadman's-place,* and dispensing to the people the Word of Life. Richard Baxter says, “The churches being burnt, and the parish ministers gone, for want of place or maintenance, the Nonconformists were more resolute than ever to preach till they were imprisoned. Mr. Wadsworth and others, he tells us, did keep their meetings very openly, and prepared large rooms, and some of them plain chapels, with pulpits, seats, and galleries, for the reception of as many as could come.” [The timber edifice at Deadman's-place was of this character, and stood on the present site of the Park-street Brewery, at a short distance from the Globe Theatre.] In 1677, the author of the “Saint's Best” occupied himself the pulpit of this ancient, sanctuary. Referring to this interesting circumstance, he writes, “It pleased God to take away that excellent faithful minister (Mr. Wadsworth) in Southwark; and just when I was kept out at Swallow-street, his flock invited me to Southwark, where, though I refused to be their pastor, I preached many months in peace, there being no justice willing to disturb us.” Calamy gives this short account of the next minister, Mr. James Lambert:—” He was a celebrated preacher in Southwark, and had a considerable congregation of Dissenters there. He succeeded Mr. Wadsworth. He died August 9th, 1689, and was buried at Bunhill.” His successor, Jonathan Owen, published a sermon in 1700, dedicated to his congregation in Deadman's-place. During his pastorate, the four silver cups, still used by the church, were introduced; the date, 1691, is engraven on each cup. Mr. Killinghall was chosen pastor about 1702, and was followed, in 1740, by Dr. Zephaniah Marryat, who died Sept. 15th, 1754, not many hours after having preached to his congregation from this text: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” Mr. Lamb was pastor from 1755 to 1762. His identity in this honourable lineage, like that of Mr. Owen, is proved by a discourse published with a dedication to the church in Deadman's-place. He was held in great esteem. On his removal, from failing health, Dr. James Watson was elected to the pastorate, and during a ministry of twenty years discharged the duties of his office with exemplary fidelity. He was the tutor of Alexander Cruden, compiler of the “Concordance,” whose remains were deposited in the burial ground adjoining the chapel, in 1770.
Dr. Humphrys,—uncle of Mr. Hanbury,* —and whose memory is precious to many, accepted the pastoral care of this ancient church in 1783; four years after his settlement, the congregation removed from Deadman's-place to Union-street, where they still worship
Subsequently, for more than twenty years, Mr. Arundel, the late excellent secretary of the London Missionary Society, laboured amongst them.
Further it is not needful to trace the history of this witnessing community. From the rapid sketch now given, the links of the historic chain, extending through nearly three centuries, may be distinctly traced. In no part of its eventful course has the church departed from its first principles in doctrine and discipline. It has long been distinguished for its unity and affection, and has ever maintained a character for practical usefulness.
Supplement by the Editor.
A new era is now dawning on this ancient church. The building in which it has long worshipped must shortly be relinquished; its lease having nearly expired. Efforts are being made to remove from the present obscure locality in which it worships, and to erect, in a more public situation, a chapel worthy of its name and history; and “to connect therewith a Pilgrim's Hall and Library, in which shall be securely deposited every document or publication that can be procured to elucidate the course and extend the influence of the pilgrim-fathers—those immortal pioneers of religious freedom.” Appeals have been widely circulated through England and America, to which most cheering and cordial responses have been given. Most gratifying assurances of interest and support have been tendered by Abbot Lawrence, Esq., Ambassador of the United States to the English court; the Hon. Amos Lawrence, brother of the ambassador; the Rev. Dr. Cheever, and numerous other distinguished gentlemen and ministers of America; and especially by the Rev. Seth Bliss, and Rev. E. A. Lawrence, who, on July 28th, 1851, met the congregation in their time-hallowed sanctuary, and assured them of their deep personal interest in the undertaking; and also that they were authorised by their brethren in America to assure them of the sympathy they felt in the object, and of their readiness to co-operate with the church in its accomplishment.
With the new Pilgrim Chapel a new impulse will be given to the zeal and labours of this ancient church with its bishop and deacons; and thus will the sacred principles they have so long and consistently maintained, be more widely diffused, and through a long succession of years increased and perpetuated.
THE EXILES AND THEIR CHURCHES IN HOLLAND.
The commerce and manufactures so extensively carried on by the Dutch during the latter part of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries, had induced many British merchants and others to settle in the principal towns of the United Provinces.
The wars threatened by Spain against Holland impelled the Dutch to make application to the English government for assistance against their common foe. Treaties were formed between Queen Elizabeth and the Seigniors, by which England engaged to furnish both troops and money to her allies, on certain conditions, for the secure fulfilment of which some important towns were to be held by the British forces. This alliance between the two governments occasioned the residence of an additional number of British subjects in the Netherlands.
One article of the treaty of 1585 contains a stipulation that the Dutch “will permit to the governor and garrison the free exercise of religion as in England, and to this end a church will be provided for them in each town.”
The places of worship thus provided for the British troops, were open also to other British residents who might choose to frequent them.
Grants were also made from the public treasury, on application, to assist the merchants and settlers elsewhere in establishing worship according to their respective opinions.
Hence at Amsterdam, the Hague, Arnheim, Middleburg, Leyden, Rotterdam, Bruges, and other towns, English worship was constantly performed in buildings erected or appropriated for that purpose by the government, as well as in the garrison and military chapels appointed according to treaty.*
Other British subjects were finding their way to Holland during this period. Humble and godly men, they would have gladly remained in their native land. Neither military glory nor commercial enterprise forced their expatriation. Religious persecution, under episcopal tyranny, had well nigh impoverished and ruined them; and still threatened the extinction of their liberties, if not of their lives. Many of their companions and predecessors had fallen victims to the fury of the ecclesiastical oppressor. Royalty, too, instead of throwing its shield of protection over all its subjects, had hurled its denunciations against such as should dare to question its prerogatives in religion, or refuse to obey its imperious mandates. At the gibbet, and the stake, as well as in the awful, death-producing dungeons, many a “martyr of Nonconformity” had sealed his testimony for truth and conscience.
Puritans, Anabaptists, Romanists, Separatists, were names odious to the authorities; and hence the extermination, imprisonment, or banishment of all, to whom they applied such names, was resolved on. Thacker, Copping, Barrowe, Greenwood, Penry, Dennis, were among the public martyrs of Independency; while a larger host of Baptist worthies, both English, and also Dutch who had come to England for protection against the horrible inquisition set up by Spain in Holland, had been even more obnoxious to the powers that be, arid “were tortured, not accepting deliverance,” and stand high on the roll of martyr fame.† During the early part of the reign of Elizabeth, numbers fled to Holland to escape the death -which threatened them; and at a later period, when the folly of killing men to convert them was perceived, and banishment or imprisonment was tried to prevent defection from the established church, others followed the example, and became exiles to the United Provinces, where liberty of conscience and of worship was freely allowed.
Many of these exiles being Puritans, and not Separatists, attached themselves to the congregations of the English settlers in various parts of the provinces; while some of their pastors, who had accompanied or followed them, became ministers of these English churches. The Rev. Francis Johnson was one of this class, and became minister of the English congregation at Middleburg. The order of worship was chiefly Presbyterian, as distinguished alike from the episcopal and the congregational. Such exiles as were Separatists or Brownists worshipped either privately, or in less prominent places than those occupied by their merely Puritan brethren.
One of the earliest of these Separatists, and whose name was attached to the entire party for a season, was
of Tolethorpe, Rutland, a clergyman of high family, and related to the Lord Treasurer Burleigh. He was chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk. He joined the Puritan party, and advocated the reformation of the national church. He became a Separatist, and collected several small congregations on Separatist principles in the county of Norfolk. He was frequently cited in the ecclesiastical courts, and imprisoned for his attacks, both from the pulpit and the press, on the episcopal establishment. His high connexions saved him from perpetual imprisonment, or death. He fled to Holland, having Mr. Harrison, a schoolmaster, and several of his friends, as his companions in flight. He settled at Middleburg, where he formed a congregation, over which he and Mr. Harrison presided. Disagreeing with his people, he returned to England, and pursued an itinerating course, preaching the gospel and inveighing against the church. He took up his abode at Northampton, and renounced his Separatist principles, and was rewarded for his tergiversation by the rectorship of Achurch in that county. His temper and habits in later years were of a dubious character, and for striking a constable in the execution of his duty, it is stated, he was committed to gaol, where he died in the 81st year of his age. He is reported to have said, “that he had been in thirty-two prisons, and in some of which he could not see his hand at noon day.”
Different opinions have been formed concerning the sincerity of Browne. Mr. Fletcher, in his “History of Independency,” thinks justice has not been done to his character. The common enemies of the Separation unite in the denunciation of the man, principally on the ground of his opposition to the established church. But even those who could have no sympathy with these opponents, and even adopted the general sentiments of Browne as their own, are equally united in his condemnation. Ainsworth, Johnson, Robinson, Brewster, and others, exhibit him in a most unfavourable light, and earnestly disclaim the appellation of Brownists.
Though it is to be feared without principle himself, he advocated the noblest principles of freedom both in conscience and worship. A doubtful expression or two have been quoted from his works by Mr. Underhill, in his Preface to “The Broadmead Records,” which appear to justify the interference of the magistrates in religious affairs; but this is to make the man an offender for a word, and to put a construction on the expressions which seems at variance with his general arguments. Posterity is deeply indebted to him for his writings and labours. He collected and condensed the scattered rays of truth which had been gleaming through the darkness from the days of Wickliffe, and presented them in a glowing, genial light in his works. As the champion of religious liberty and the independence of the Church of Christ, all honour is due to his memory; would that he could be venerated for his character and life! He was an earnest and energetic man; an enthusiast and a genius. He pursued an erratic course, heedless of consequences. Bold and courageous by impulse, rather than by conviction, he became a coward and quailed before his persecutors. The truth had no vital power in him. He acquired no martyr fame, but died ingloriously and disgraced in the prison, a warning and a beacon to coming generations.
It is surely with an ill grace that ecclesiastical writers reproach Nonconformity for the errors and inconsistencies of Browne, since, all scapegrace as he was, when he repudiated his separatism, he was welcomed into the church, was honoured with her preferment, and died in her fellowship.*
Mr. Harrison, the colleague of Browne, continued steadfast to the end of his course, and it is believed died at Middleburg.
THE EXILED CHURCH AT AMSTERDAM
now claims consideration. The date of its origin is unrecorded. It has been conjectured that 1593 or 1594 was the period of its formation; but probabilities are rather in favour of 1600, being about the time when Francis Johnson and Henry Ainsworth became pastors and teachers in that city. Johnson, in his self-exile in 1593, went to Middleburg, became English preacher of the Puritan order, and there manifested his opposition to the Separatists as described by Mr. Waddington.† He could not have been banished from London after his visit to Barrowe and Greenwood, much earlier than 1600. He settled at Amsterdam, and found Ainsworth there, every way qualified to become his associate in ministerial labour. They jointly formed a church of such English Separatists, both exiles and others, as were residing in that city.
This church, consisting eventually of three hundred members, was exceedingly unhappy in its history; persons were united with it, whose characters became disreputable. Amsterdam was a common refuge for the persecuted and destitute. Hall speaks of it, contemptuously, as the common harbour and sink of all sectaries, and that Johnson's church was formed of heterogeneous parties, entertaining all kinds of opinions.
Beside the fact that Johnson and Ainsworth presided over it, little is known of the church except its contentions and divisions. Three secessions took place between its formation in 1600, and the year 1610, and on three different grounds.
The first secession happened in 1604, and was occasioned by the marriage of Mr. Johnson with the widow of a merchant, who, being accustomed to genteel life, dressed according to the style and fashion of the circle to which she belonged. Mr. Johnson's father, and his brother George, who were both members of the church, with others, were scandalized at this apparent conformity to the world, and sought her exclusion from the church. This led to disputes, parties, controversies, and finally to the excommunication of Mr. Johnson, sen., Mr. George Johnson, and several others, whose doubtful characters had come to light in the course of the disputes.*
It must have been a sore trial to Mr. Francis Johnson, as the pastor, in the name of the church to excommunicate his father and his brother: but the decision of the church was founded, doubtless, on just principles, and executed only after long delay, in the hope of reconciling the various parties. Mr. Ainsworth concurred in this excision, and justified it as the only means of securing the purity and peace of the church.
The second secession was the retirement of Rev. John Smyth and his adherents from the fellowship of the church. Mr. Smyth, an account of whom is given in former volumes,† was the pastor of the Separatist church in Lincolnshire, and came as an exile with many of his followers to Amsterdam, in the year 1606. They united themselves to Mr. Johnson's church, and remained in fellowship till the unhappy differences on account of Mr. Smyth's change of opinion respecting evangelical doctrine and infant baptism led to their secession. This controversy must have arisen about the time of Mr. Robinson's arrival in 1608, as it would seem he retired to Leyden with his exiled company, in order that he might escape from the broils and contentions at Amsterdam. Mr. Smyth embraced the doctrinal views of Arminius respecting general redemption, and advocated the practice of believers’ and adults’ baptism, to the exclusion of infants from that ordinance. Hellwisse and Murton espoused his cause, and together with Mr. Smyth, left Mr. Johnson's church, and established another of their own in Amsterdam, which continued a few years, and then was broken up; the principal part of the people, it is supposed, returning to England. This movement of Mr. Smyth's occasioned a very general controversy, in which Johnson, Ainsworth, Clyfton and Robinson took an active part. The subjects of debate at that period are not yet settled. Calvinism and pædo-baptism, as well as their antagonist systems, still continue, and the controversy on both sides probably will not be terminated till the clearer light of heaven shall reveal the truth, and the respective parties, though holding these dissimilar views, shall be placed together in regions where no prejudice shall becloud the understanding, nor sin alienate the affections.
It is a rather singular fact, that zealous as were Mr. Smyth and his friends for believers’ baptism, and earnest as were their opponents in behalf of infant baptism, the question of the mode of baptism was never mooted by either party. Immersion baptism does not appear to have been practised or pleaded for by either Smyth or Hellwisse, the alleged founders of the general Baptist denomination in England. Nothing appears in their controversial writings to warrant the supposition that they regarded immersion as the proper and only mode of administering that ordinance. Incidental allusions there are, in their own works and in the replies of Robinson, that the baptism which Mr. Smyth performed on himself must have been rather by affusion or pouring. Nor is this supposition improbable, from the fact that the Dutch Baptists, by whom they were surrounded, uniformly administered baptism by affusion.
It is asserted plainly and unequivocally by the Baptist historians, Crosby, Ivimey, and Adam Taylor, as also by Hanbury, Brook, and other writers among the Independents, that Smyth and others were immersed; but sufficient grounds for believing that such was the fact do not appear.
Before we proceed to the third division that took place, it seems desirable to give a brief account of the Reverend
the colleague of Mr. Johnson, and teacher of the church. He was one of the most learned and accomplished of the Puritans. Of his early history nothing is known. Persecution drove him into exile about 1593. He probably accompanied Mr. Johnson and his friends to Holland, but remained himself at Amsterdam, while Mr. Johnson proceeded to Middleburg, as the minister of the English church in that town. He resolved on obtaining a livelihood in any way that Providence might direct. He became a porter in a bookseller's shop, where his taste and learning were soon discovered by his employer. It would be interesting to know whether he pursued his ministry while thus engaged in his secular calling, and was at this time collecting a congregation over which Mr. Johnson and himself should hereafter preside. But history is at fault on this point. Conjecture only can surmise. His position as teacher only, and not pastor in the church, would afford him the opportunity of engaging in other employments than those of the ministry. He pursued his studies, and composed many of his works, while united with Mr. Johnson in the ministration of the church. A man of large heart and loving spirit, as well as erudite and accomplished, he must have been a blessing to the people; his soul must have been riven with distress, when he witnessed the contentions among the brethren, and especially when the providence of God seemed to necessitate his own separation from the Christian society of his friends. His works are numerous. Controversial and Biblical Divinity compose the bulk of his treatises. His Annotations on the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and the Songs of Solomon, are generally known and deservedly esteemed. His treatise on the “Communion of Saints,” is an admirable performance, and discovers his Christian spirit, and his intimate acquaintance with the sacred oracles.
It was the intention of the “Wycliffe Society,” had it continued in existence, to have reprinted the principal devotional and practical works of Ainsworth. But the enterprise failing, no other parties have been induced to take the responsibility of publishing them.*
On the removal of Mr. Robinson and his friends to Leyden, and shortly after the retirement of Mr. Smyth and his party to another part of Amsterdam, a difference of opinion arose between Mr. Johnson and Mr. Ainsworth, respecting the eldership and church power, and the true interpretation of Matt. xviii. 17, respecting excommunication. Mr. Johnson would restrict church power to the elders and officers, while Mr. Ainsworth, like his friend Robinson and all true Separatists, considered it as belonging to the whole society. The subject was discussed in the meetings of the church, parties were ranged on each side of the question, angry feeling arose, and the Johnsonians were disposed to exclude from fellowship all such as would not concur in the opinion of their pastor.
So hopeless did reconciliation appear among themselves, that Mr. Ainsworth desired the counsel and advice of the church at Leyden, and wished that a deputation might be sent. The majority, with Mr. Johnson, objected on various grounds to such a deputation; especially, as deeming themselves competent to settle their own differences.
Mr. Ainsworth, however, forwarded a letter to Leyden, signed by thirty of the members, in treating that Mr. Robinson and some messengers from the church might be sent to hear the statements of both parties, and to advise accordingly. The messengers came: various propositions were considered; one, that the respective parties should continue and worship together, the objectors having given in their protestation against the practice adopted by Mr. Johnson and his friends; another, that the parties objecting might continue to hear at Amsterdam, but should unite with the church at Leyden, that church adopting the principle contended for by Mr. Ainsworth; a third and middle course, by way of compromise, as proposed by Mr. Robinson, that all the business of the church should be first considered and resolved on by the pastors and elders privately, and then submitted to the church for confirmation only. None of these proposals gave satisfaction, especially as the Johnson party were urgent that the objectors should remove out of the city. The subject having been under discussion twelve months, and no hope of agreement appearing probable, Mr. Ainsworth and his adherents withdrew from the church, December 15th and 16th, 1610, and formed a separate society. The two congregations were severally designated by their common enemies, Franciscan Brownists, and Ainsworthian Brownists, according to the names of their respective leaders.*
The Rev. Richard Clyfton, who had gone over to Holland, between the times that Smyth and Robinson severally exiled themselves, and who had been associated with both in the Separatist church in the Midland Countries, was at this period in connexion with the Amsterdam church. He took a decided part against Smyth in reference to his baptismal views, and wrote extensively and vigorously on the subject, in his “Plea for Infants and Elder people, concerning their Baptism,” 1610.
He also coincided in Johnson's views respecting church power, and, on the retirement of Ainsworth, became associated with Johnson in the pastorship of the church.
“He was a grave and fatherly old man when he came first into Holland, having a great white beard: and pity it was that such a reverend old man should be forced to leave his country, and at those years to go into exile. But it was his lot, and he bore it patiently. Much good had he done in the country where he lived, and converted many to God by his faithful and painful ministry, both in preaching and catechising. Sound and orthodox he always was, and so continued to his end.”†
Differences again arose in the church over which Johnson and himself presided, after the retirement of Mr. Ainsworth. Lawne and his party having been cut off for their impieties, they published their “Profane Schism of the Brownists,” &c., and “Brownisme turned the Inside Outward,” &c., and to which Mr. Clyfton replied in his “Advertisement concerning a Book lately published by Christopher Lawne and others,” 1612. To which work, in consequence of its allusions to Ainsworth's proceedings, Mr. Ainsworth replied in his “Admonition.”
He continued his ministerial service till death summoned him to rest.
Mr. Johnson removed after a few years with a portion of his church to Embden; he subsequently returned to Amsterdam, where he died.
Mr. Ainsworth continued in the pastorate over his flock, to which it is probable after the retirement of Johnson and death of Clyfton, the original church united itself, for 13 years; he died suddenly, in 1623, not without suspicion of having been poisoned through the coveteousness or malignity of a Jew in the city. He was succeeded by Mr. Canne, who went out from England in 1624, and jointly, as some suppose, with Mr. de Lescluse presided over the church: while others conjecture, that the church was again divided, and that they became pastors respectively of the churches thus formed into two Christian societies.*
The Church at Leyden.
Mr. Robinson removed with his friends to Leyden in 1609, and formed their church, as soon as they could assemble for worship, in that celebrated city. The numbers were at first comparatively small, but were gradually augmented by exiles from England and other parts of the United Provinces, till it was nearly as large as the mother church at Amsterdam, in its most palmy state. The pastor, with the elder, Mr. Brewster, and the church, appeared to live in peace and harmony. They were frequently consulted by the church at Amsterdam, on occasion of the differences between Mr. Johnson and Mr. Ainsworth.
A letter from the church at Amsterdam to that at Leyden, on the subject of the differences, with Mr. Robinson's reply in behalf of his church, and the rejoinder, are preserved in Clyfton's “Advertisement,” and are reprinted in the following pages:—
“Letter from the Church at Amsterdam to that of Leyden.
“Beloved, touching the things that have now lately been spoken of between the two churches, yours and ours, about the dismission of such, on either part, as are not content with protestation, peaceably to walk in their difference of judgment, we have occasion to entreat the continuance of your consideration yet further thereabout. 1st, Because yourselves signified it came suddenly upon your church: and if either you or we minded otherwise by the Word of God, we should after signify it: wherefore we expect to hear, whether you continue likeminded as heretofore. 2nd, Because there is with us a new motion of our walking together thus, by bearing one with another, so as for peace, to permit of a double practice among us, that those that are minded either way should keep a like course together, as we would do if we were asunder, according as the persons shall be that have the causes. Which way, if it may be found warrantable by the Word of God, and peaceable unto and among ourselves, we hope all that love peace in holiness will accord. These things as we are to consider of, so pray we you to do the like with us and for us, that we may do that which is most to God's glory and our mutual comfort. Thus, &c.
November 5, old, style, 1610.”
“Reply of the Church at Leyden to that of Amsterdam.
“Touching the agreement, brethren, between the churches for our mutual peace and the relief of the consciences of our brethren, we did and do repute the same as full and absolute on both sides, except either some better course can be thought on, or this manifested to be evil, and that it be reversed, with the mutual consent of both churches. And for this last motion about a double practice, as we are glad of the great and godly desire to continue together, in it manifested, so we do not see, how it can stand either with our peace or itself: but that it will not only nourish, but even necessarily beget endless contentions, when men diversly minded shall have business in the church. If therefore it would please the Lord so far to enlarge your hearts on both sides, brethren, as that this middle way be held, namely, that the matter of offence might first be brought for order, preparation, and prevention of unnecessary trouble, unto the elders, as the church governors (though it is like we for our parts shall not so practise in this particular); and after, if things be not there ended, to the church of elders and brethren, there to be judged on some ordinary known day ordinarily, the admonition being carried according to the alteration practised and agreed upon by all parts, till it shall please the God of wisdom and Father of lights, by the further consideration and parties discussing of things, either in word or writing, to manifest otherwise for our joint accord: it would surely make much to the glory of God and the stopping of their mouths, which are so wide opened upon us in respect of our daily dissipations, and should be to us matter of great rejoicing, whose souls do long after peace and abhor the contrary; and that thus, walking in peace and holiness, we might all beg at God's hands the healing and pardon of all our infirmities, and so be ready to heal and forgive the infirmities of one another in love. And with this prayer unto God for you and for ourselves, we re-salute you in the Lord Jesus.
November 14, 1610.”
“Reply of the Church of Amsterdam to that of Leyden.
“Your letter, brethren, we received and read publicly. Concerning which we have occasion to signify some things unto you thereabout. And first touching the agreement treated of between us, that for such of us as will not come thither to remain with you, but purpose still to live here, in this city, apart from us: albeit there be some that could be content, notwithstanding, so to dismiss them, yet there are others of us, that having more considered of it, think it not lawful to have any hand in consenting thereunto, and mean therefore to reverse our former agreement unto it; besides that divers of us say, they never consented hereunto. And, further, some of us also begin to think that it will be found unlawful to keep spiritual communion with them in such estate, however we may still retain with them civil society.
“The reasons minded, why not so to dismiss them, nor to have spiritual fellowship with them in such estate and walking are these:—
“Thus we thought to acquaint you with these things and the reasons thereabout. Which yet are so minded of us, as if either among ourselves or by others, we shall hereafter better discern what is according to the will of God herein, we shall, God willing, be ready so to receive and walk.
“As touching the double practice, misliked by you, although indeed it may seem somewhat strange and difficult, yet for the present, some of us could like better of it, than of a parting: but the brethren differing from us will not admit of it. Neither will they yield to that middle course propounded in your letter. Yet have we left it, with the former things, to their further consideration. And howsoever it pleaseth the Lord to dispose of us, our trust is, that he will work all in the end to the furtherance of his truth and peace of his church in Christ Jesus. To whose gracious protection and guidance we commend you, &c.
November 19, 1610.”*
Some misapprehension having arisen as to the course pursued and advice given, by Mr. Robinson and the messengers sent from Leyden to Amsterdam, they, at the request of Mr. Ainsworth, published the following document:—
“The Testimony of the Elders of the Church at Leyden.
“Though we much rather desired to have been mediators of the peace of our brethren, than witnesses of their strife, yet may we not, because that which we desired could not be effected by us, withdraw from that, which both may, and ought by us to be done. We, therefore, being desired thereunto by Mr. Ainsworth, and occasioned by that which both Mr. Johnson and he have written, and taking the evils which have befallen others, as matter both of humbling and warning to ourselves, do signify what we know and have found in our dealings thereabout.
“And First. Our special calling to intermeddle in this uncomfortable business, was a letter sent unto us by some thirty of the brethren there; in which, mentioning in the beginning of it, their long and grievous controversy, they signified how they had oft desired of the church to request our help therein, and that the elders would no way approve thereof, but would only permit our coming, either of ourselves, or at their request. Wherein they also certified us, how some of them had charged the exposition of these words, “Tell the Church,” Matt. xviii. 17, Tell the Elders, with some other particulars thereupon depending, to be error; and so were to prove their charge; and therefore earnestly requested us to help in that great business; that the truth might be maintained, and not by their weakness injured, and the innocent condemned; and that we would help the Lord against the mighty, &c.
“And the reason why they thus earnestly requested our help was, because Mr. Ainsworth. was so sparing in opposing of Mr. Johnson's new doctrine (though always misliking it), as they scarce knew how he was minded in the things; so loth was he to come to any professed and public opposition with him, whom he rather hoped to pacify by moderation, than by opposition to stop in his intended course. Besides, he was careful not to give any encouragement to the too violent oppositions of some brethren, though minded as they were, in the things themselves.
“This their letter, and earnest request in it, notwithstanding, we went not, but wrote to the church, and showed them what the substance of the letter was, desiring by them to be informed how things stood with them, and signifying withal, our unwillingness to interpose, but upon a due and necessary calling, and that, also as much as might be under the conditions of best hope of good issue.
“They, as before, denied to approve of our coming, and would only permit it, and that under the terms of jealousy and advantage, as appears by that which themselves have published; and did oft and earnestly require of us a copy of the letter before mentioned, with the names of the persons subscribed unto it; which though we judged, and still do, an hard and extreme imposition in itself, considering they themselves had permitted them to send unto us, and knew from us whereabout they wrote, and had not laid it upon them to show them their letter before they sent it; yet had we given way to their desires herein, had it not been for one phrase in the end of the letter, which being borrowed from Deborah's speech against Sisera, Judges v. 33, and applied as it was, might give offence, and minister occasion of further strife, which phrase also we reproved in the writers of the letter, and they acknowledged amiss; professing, notwithstanding, they had no evil meaning in it, but only a desire to provoke us the more effectually to supply their inability against those with whom they had to deal. Now, for our withholding the copy of the letter, though since that time, for their importunity we sent it them, as also for our purpose of coming unto them, and the ends thereof, we will here insert what we wrote unto them in two several letters thereabout.
“For the former thus:—‘If the letter whereof you desire a copy, might further your common peace, or procure good to any, we should easily answer your desire; but if, on the contrary, there were the least evil in it, we should hold it our duties to deal with the parties offending ourselves, and not to discover their sin.’ And loth would we be either to minister matter of further scanning amongst you, or that any register of unkindness should come unto you from our hands. And the fear of this was in truth the only cause why we refused to send this letter, as they required. Wherein if we failed, as we see no cause so to think, yet was it the error of our love, and great desire of their peace.
“About our coming we thus wrote:—‘Our purpose therefore is, according to the request of the brethren which have moved us, and our duty, to send or come unto you’; not to oppose any person, or to maintain any charge of error, but by all other brotherly means to help forward your holy peace (if so the Lord's will be); which how precious it is unto us, we hope to manifest to the consciences of all men; than which we know nothing in this world we have more cause to endeavour, both with God and yourselves. Of which our coming we pray you to accept, and to appoint us some such time, as seems to you most convenient. Where also we shall satisfy you to the utmost, both touching the letter, and other particulars in all equity, yea, so far as we can without apparent sin.’
“These things, notwithstanding they would not approve, but only permit of our coming, as men use to permit of that which is evil, and which indeed they could not hinder. And so we came unto them; first of ourselves, and afterwards at the request of Mr. Ainsworth, and them with him, being sent by the church, whereof we are: and so enforcing ourselves upon them, for the delivering of the church's message, did reprove what we judged evil in them, and that, we confess, with some vehemency. And in that regard it was, that (upon the motion made by Mr. Johnson for the free dismission of such members with them, unto us, as could not there walk with peace of conscience, there lying no other cause against them, which should also be mutually performed on our part) we signified, as he writeth, that ‘we little thought they had been so inclinable to peace, and that if we had so thought, we would have carried ourselves otherwise towards them, than we did.’ And good cause had we so to speak. For neither is the same carriage to be used towards men prosecuting their purposes and persuasions with all violence and extremity, and towards them which manifest Christian moderation in the same; neither had we before, or have we since found the like peaceable inclination in them, to that which they then manifested. Which how great grief it hath been unto us, and how it hath even wounded our very hearts, He only knoweth which seeth the sorrows of the hearts of his servants, and putteth their tears in his bottle.
“But to pass by these things, and to proceed. The motion made by Mr. Johnson for a peaceable dismission, was by the church there received with general assent, unto which the church also at Leyden condescended; and so sent hack the officers for the further ratification of it, and for some other purposes tending to the establishing of peace amongst them. Whereupon it was also the second time by them confirmed, always indeed with submission to the Word of God, as was meet; and that if either they or we minded otherwise, we should so signify. Which notwithstanding they did not; but reversed the agreement of themselves, without acquainting us with the change of their mind or reasons thereof.
“Afterwards, indeed, they gave us knowledge of their purpose, as appears in their former letter by themselves published, desiring the continuance of our consideration about it, as if the thing which was fully agreed upon, as is aforesaid, and that oftener than once, had been only in consideration; and in their second letter, as also appeareth, they gave us certain reasons of their dislike.
“Unto which reasons of theirs we gave no answer (as they both write) before their parting. And the causes were: 1. For that they continued not long together after they came to our hands. 2. We had upon occasion of the motion made for a double practice, propounded another course, both more fit and warrantable, as we thought, than that, for the bringing of things first to the elders, as appears in our letter. Unto which course, though we do not bind our brethren, yet may we safely say, so far as we remember, that there never came complaint of sin to the church since we were officers, but we took knowledge of it before, either by mutual consent on both sides, or at least, by the party accused; with whose Christian modesty and wisdom we think it well sorteth, that being condemned by two or three brethren, he should not trouble the church, or hazard a public rebuke upon himself, without counselling with them who are set over him, and who either are, or should be best able to advise him.
“Thirdly, and which was the chief cause, we were without all hope of doing good, when they once misliked the motion which made it. Whilst they liked it, we had hope, though it were with hard measure to the other, and so did further it, to the utmost of our power; but when they laid it down, we knew all our labour would be lost in endeavouring their second liking of it.
“Lastly, where Mr. Johnson affirmeth, that at the first treating of the matter, we conceived that those by them dismissed should remain at Leyden with us, notwithstanding their want of means of living, it may well be, as he saith, though we well remember it not. And therein all men may see how we were even overcarried with a vehement desire of peace with them, and amongst themselves, and how far we were from being partial towards them with whom we agreed in the things in controversy. Yea, the truth is, we were boldest with them, both because we would prevent all jealousy in the other, and preserve in them all the interest we could for the common peace; and also because we were well assured of Mr. Ainsworth's great moderation, upon whom the rest did much depend.
But howsoever we conceived at the first, it is certain that both they and we conceived otherwise in the agreement; and, therefore, when one amongst them made exception, that we should not dismiss them back, which came unto us, to live a distinct congregation in the same city with them, it was presently answered, both by Mr. Johnson and Mr. Studley, that, that concerned not them, but that they would leave it unto us; though that appeared afterwards to be the only thing for which they broke off their purpose and promise. And here the work of God's providence is to be observed, that they who would have no peace with their brethren, abiding in the same city with them, are about to leave it themselves, and to settle their abode elsewhere. Which thing, that it might well come to pass in short time, they were by us put in mind of beforehand, if God gave them not again to re-unite, which by a peaceable parting, might have been furthered. Which how much better had it been they had admitted of, all things considered, than through extreme straitness in themselves (not to meddle with the main cause) thus to have made their brethren their adversaries, and themselves, yea, and us all, a by-word to the whole world.
“William Brewster .”*
Mr. Johnson having written “An Answer touching the Division,” &c. containing an animadversion on a passage in Mr. Robinson's reply to Bernard,† respecting church authority, which was so strongly debated at that time, Mr. Ainsworth called Mr. Robinson's special attention to it, and desired him to answer it.
“Mr. Robinson's Answer.
“Because Mr. Johnson hath in his ‘Answer touching the Division,’‡ expressly taxed my book against Mr. Bernard, I think it meet to insert a brief answer to his exceptions, as followeth.’ He there writeth thus—
“‘Whereas we had learned and professed that Christ was the only king and lord of his church, and had left unto it among men, but a ministerial government, and that all the multitude of the members, the saints ought to obey, and submit to the eldership in every church. Now we have lately been taught, that the people as kings have power one over another, and that the saints being kings are superior to their officers, because the order of kings is the highest order in the church, &c. Also, that the church may in relation to the officers being servants therein, be called a lord, &c.;’ and for this he quoteth my book, adding that I ‘ advance the people one above another as kings, entitle them with kingly and lordly power in the outward policy and affairs of the church, by which as the prelates on the one hand, so the people on the other hand become idols.’
“Acknowledging the former and latter part of that, he saith we have formerly professed, I except against the middle clause of the sentence, in sundry respects. First, in that he draws the question, which is about the power of Christ in the church, common to all, to the government and guidance of the church in the use of this power, which is peculiar to the officers; which may also more clearly appear to him that reads the places he quotes in the margin, wherein he concludeth, though more covertly, a double untruth; the one, that, because the government of the officers is only ministerial and not kingly, therefore there is no kingly power left unto the church, or communicated with the saints for the suppressing of sin: the other that, because the officers are the only governors of the church, and so by us acknowledged, therefore they only have the power of Christ. And thus he would closely wrap up the church's power in the officers’ government, and not be seen in it. For the clearing then of the difference between government and power, it must be considered, that by government may either be understood the whole dispensation of Christ's kingly office, whether inward or outward, whether by himself or by others; and so this power we speak of is comprehended under it as a part thereof. Or, it is taken more strictly for the guidance and ordering of the church in her public affairs, and the administration and execution of them; and so it appertaineth to the officers, and is clean another thing than the power in question. For the proving of this difference, the apostle Paul writes to the whole Church of Corinth to excommunicate the incestuous man, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. This power he would have the whole church to use, but yet would not have the whole church to become governors, nor to take upon them government, but the officers only; by which it appeareth that government and power are diverse things. I do further add, what if the whole eldership should be charged by two or three witnesses, with heresy, blasphemy, or the like crime, and complaint thereof be made to the church? Mr. Johnson, in this his Answer,* confesseth that the church (he would be asked whether women and children or no) may depose all her officers jointly, persisting in transgression, though in the same place he mince the matter too small, in saying they may depose, or refuse them, and separate from them; and again, refuse them. Whereas to depose, and to separate from, or refuse, are very diverse; for first to separate from the eldership requires no power, but liberty, and therefore may be done by one man or woman, upon just occasion: so cannot deposition be upon any occasion, but by the church; for which deposition of all the officers of the kingdom of Christ, the church, a man would think the power of Christ were needful, and that by it such a judgment should pass out. Besides, the church in deposing her officers, doth not separate herself from them (to speak properly), but them from her. Well, to take the least liberty he will give the people. If they may separate from all their officers, persisting in transgression, then they must receive the complaint of sin, which is orderly brought, and by sufficient witnesses, against them, and must examine and judge the matter. Now, if it argue power to receive a complaint of sin against one brother, and to examine and judge it, and so to censure him by excommunication, if there be cause; doth it not also argue power to receive a complaint of sin against all the officers, to examine and judge it, and so to censure them, as there is cause, by deposition? But what now shall the elders do accounting themselves innocent, and wrongfully accused, whilst the church thus examineth things, and judgeth of them? Shall they surcease their government, and fail the church in so great a need? and would Mr. Johnson so practise? or are they not now to do a special work of their government, not only in preserving order, but in directing, instructing, and guiding the church by the Word of God in her whole proceedings? By which it appeareth, that judging of sin, and power to suppress it, is one thing; and government for the right use and ordering of the same, another thing. The officers which are judged do govern, and the body of the church which judgeth them, is governed by them. We may yet further see this difference even in the lordly governments of this world, and that both in peace and war.
“In the civil government of our own land, than the which none in the world, in the right use of it, is more excellent when a malefactor comes to be arraigned at the assizes or sessions, he is to be tried by his country (a competent company, where all cannot possibly pass upon him), which they call the jury, whose power and sentence is of such force, as that the lord chief justice himself, and all the bench with him, cannot proceed against it, either for the quitting or condemning of the person; and yet the bench governeth the whole action, and the jury is by them, according to law, to be governed. I wish the elders with whom we have to do would allow the body of the church the like liberty at their sitting, as they call it, that is, at their spiritual sessions; or rather, that they would better consider that they are as ministers to stand and serve, and not as lords, to sit and judge. Numb. xvi. 9; 2 Chron. xxxv. 3; 2 Cor. iv. 5.
“Lastly, when an army is sent against the king's and their own enemies, the government is in the captains and officers, but so is not all the power for fighting with, and subduing of their, and their king's, enemies. Neither is all the power of the church, which is an army with banners, in the officers alone, for the subduing of Christ's and their enemies, sin and Satan, though the government be. Thus may the difference plainly be seen betwixt power and government; in the opening of which I have been the longer,* because, 1. I think it a main ground of our controversy. 2. Our opposites do much insult over us, as speaking contradictions, when we yield the officers all the government, and yet deny them all the power. 3. The weaker sort are much misled, and carried away through want of discerning this difference.
“I proceed to a second thing, and affirm that Christ hath not left to the church among men only a ministerial power (which he confusedly calleth government), as he saith. He hath left the Word of God, and gospel in the church, which is lively, and mighty in operation, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, &c., Heb. iv. 12; 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, ruling, and reigning in and over the very hearts and lives of men; binding their consciences, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. I know men can only minister this power, whether in doctrine or discipline, as they speak; but it is one thing to say the power is only ministerial, and another thing, that men can only minister it; for men may be the ministers only of that power which is kingly and lordly in itself, and so over men, as this is. So the saints can only minister their kingly power, by participation of Christ's anointing, as one special grace they have received; of which more hereafter.
“Now in laying down the things wherewith he chargeth me, he alters my words, misinterprets my meaning, and conceals that which I have written; and he read in my book for the explaining of the same.
“And first he saith, I have taught that the people are as kings one over another; that I advance them one over another as kings, and above their governors, entitling them with kingly and lordly power (that is government, as he explains himself) in the outward policy of the church.
“I do not in these places, or any other, advance the people one over another, much less over their officers, in the outward policy of the church, that is, as he explains his meaning, in the government of it. I do everywhere profess the officers the governors, and the people the governed by them.
“Neither do I anywhere affirm that the people are kings, or as kings one over another, as he chargeth me. I say in one place,* that the saints are not kings for themselves alone, but for their brethren also; as they are not priests only for themselves, but for their brethren. And in another place,† that every one of the faithful is a king, not only to himself, but to every other member, as he is a priest, and a prophet, &c. Here is a king one for another, and one to another, but not one over another, much less over the officers, for government, in the external policy of the church. The plain and simple truth then, is, whatsoever men either mistake of ignorance, or suggest of an evil mind, that we do not call the saints kings in respect of outward order and government, as though they were to order and govern the church in her public affairs, which is the work of the officers; hut as they are partakers of Christ's kingly anointing, by his Spirit, common to the head and the members’, and so kings by participation, and endowed with kingly power for the conquering and subduing of the power of sin and Satan, not only in themselves, but in their brethren also, by the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, which they are to minister unto them, as all other graces in their order.
“And this meaning being held, it may safely be taught that they are over one another, that is, to watch one over another, and so as kings to conquer their spiritual enemies, one in another mutually. But I will rather insist upon mine own words, “for or to one another,” as being most fit to show that communion of the saints in this grace, as in the rest, which he also in all equity should have done. And thus I will prove this royal communion of the saints. And for them that make themselves merry herewith, let them suffer me to speak, and when I have spoken, let them mock on. Job xxi. 3.
“And first, it must be observed, that the place and scriptures which Mr. Johnson notes in our Confession, to prove Christ the only king of his church, prove him as well, and that truly, to be the only priest and prophet of his church. And if notwithstanding his sole prophecy and priesthood peculiar to him, as the head, the saints may be prophets and priests as members, by communication, they may also be kings by communication, notwithstanding his peculiar imperial power. And so the Scriptures testify that he hath made us kings and priests unto God, even his Father, and so our Father. Rev. i. 6; and v. 10.
“But it will be answered, that Christ hath made us kings to resist, subdue, and conquer our spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, this world, and our worldly lusts, by the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and the work of the Spirit, in and by the same. Eph. vi. 11, 17. I grant it, and thereupon conclude, that since God's people are also by the same weapons and means to resist and subdue the power of sin in their brethren, they are also kings in the same respect unto them.
“The saints are Christians, Acts xi. 26; Rom. xiv. 4, 5; 1 Cor. xii. 27, and that for, and in respect one of another, as members under Christ, one of another, and therefore kings. For to be a Christian for another, is nothing else but by participation of Christ's anointing, to be a priest, prophet, and king for another. Add unto this, that whatsoever grace any member of the body hath received, it is for the use and edification of the rest, and so in order to be administered by him as a good disposer of the grace of. God. 1 Pet. iv. 10. And must this royal grace then, which the saints have received, find no time nor place for the dispensation, of it unto others?
“When a brother comes to subdue, and make conquest of some spiritual enemy, or sin, appearing in his brother, either privately or publicly, in his place and order, he doth this as a fellow-member and Christian, and so by one of his three states and endowments, of priest, prophet, or king (for he hath no office wherein he administereth); but by neither of the two former, therefore by the latter, and as a king, and so made by Christ.
“Lastly, the people are, by Mr. Johnson's own grant, to choose their officers, as also upon just occasion to depose them. And this, as the former, they do, not as priests or prophets, and therefore by their kingly endowment from and under Christ.
“And thus much to prove the saints in their communion (as priests to offer up the prayers one of another, and prophets to instruct one another, so also) partakers of the kingly dignity of Christ, as his members, for the suppressing and conquering of sin, appearing one in another, in that order which Christ hath left. And where do I in all this, as is imputed to me, advance the people, as others do the prelates, and make them idols? Do I give them power to prescribe and appoint other forms of God's worship, offices of ministry, canons, ceremonies, or holy days, than Christ hath prescribed and appointed? to bind the con-science, by urging subscription ex animo, to their own inventions, or to loose conscience, by dispensations to sin, as of pluralities, non-residences, and the like? or that one man should set up and pull down ministers, and excommunicate and absolve both ministers and people by his sole authority? If another man should thus have charged Mr. Johnson, when he maintained the same liberty of the brethren, if not greater, which I now do, though it may be not under the same terms, he would have pronounced it blasphemy in him. But passing by his terms of provocation and reproach, I come to another exception; which is, that I make the order of saints superior unto the order of officers; to wit, in itself, as I there explain my meaning, and not in respect of government, as he traduceth me. I know that he which guideth, ordereth, and directeth another, is in that his art and work, superior unto him that is so guided, ordered, and directed. So is the pilot in guiding the ship, superior and above all the passengers in it, though the king and his council. So is the physician, in ordering the king's body; as is also the meanest guide in leading and directing him, and his army royal, in unknown places. So are the officers superior to the church in their art, or work of government, which is the opening and applying of the Scriptures to the use and direction of the church; but as this is done by them, in an order of service, and not of lordship, so I judge, and call them inferior. And so in my book, I make them equal in their persons, as saints, superior in the word they minister, and in the place of God; not so in their order of servants, wherein they minister, but inferior.*
“My reasons there brought to prove mine affirmation, because he here meddles not with, I also forbear in this place to confirm; only a few words of one of them, upon which the next and last exception dependeth. Which is, that the order of church officers is inferior to the order of the saints, because their order is an order of service, 2 Chron. xxxv. 3; Numb. xvi. 9; Ezek. xliv. 11; 2 Cor. iv. 5, and servants unto the saints of the church. I know kings may be said to serve their people, and so to become their servants; but this is only in respect of their love towards them, and care for them; but not in respect of their order, which is a lordship and kingship, by which they reign over their people, as their servants and subjects. The like may be said of Christ himself, as that he served his disciples, and became as a servant, &c. And for that it must be considered, that as in the things wherein he did thus serve, and become as a servant, he did in his love make himself inferior to his disciples, and preferred them before himself; as in giving his life a ransom for many, Matt xx. 28; in being as he that serveth at the table whereat his disciples sat, Luke xxii. 27, in which respect he expressly teacheth them to be greater than himself; and in washing their feet as they sat at supper, John xiii. 4, 5; so was not his order an order of service in itself, but of headship and kingship, which if our church officers could prove their order to be, we would then acknowledge it indeed superior to the order of saints. But their order being merely an order of servants, methinks common sense should serve to judge the same inferior to the order of the church, whose servants under Christ they are.
“I add in my book,* that the officers being by their order servants, the church may, in that relation, be called a lord; not for the governing of them in the outward policy and affairs in the church, as he injuriously collects, but as they are for the church's use and service, which he conceals, though I expressly so note in the same place; as also that the same church servants are church governors; the government of the church being a mere service. And for the thing. If the officers be to be called servants to the church, what is the church to be called to the officers? A servant is a relative, and must have a correlative; and I would know by what name he would call it, if not by the name of lord, master, mistress, or the like. And if he deny this, he takes away from men the use of common reason and understanding. Let the servants know, yea, though stewards, as are the church officers, and so betrusted with the government in a special manner, that the wife of their lord and master is a degree above them, and so to be acknowledged by them, lest they not only wrong her, but provoke him to wrath.
“Lastly, because he imputes new doctrine to me, I will note down the doctrine of some few others, both more ancient and more worthy of respect than myself.
“Musculus, in his Commentaries upon 1 Cor.iii. 22–24, ‘Let no man glory in men, for all are yours,’ &c., saith thus: ‘Is it not absurd that the greater, to wit, the church, should glory in the less,† to wit, the officers; the lord or master in the servant?’* And in this sense, saith he further,’ The perverseness of the false apostles is noted, who when they were servants of the church, did make of a mistress,† or dame, a servant, and of servants, lords. And again, the foolishness of the church is taxed, who when they were lords‡ of their ministers, glowed in their servants.’
“Bullinger, upon the same place, ver. 21, saith thus: ‘ So great is the dignity of them that believe, that God hath subjected all things unto them. It is therefore great folly if the lord§ of things subject himself to the things,’ &c.
“Pareus, Professor, of Heidelberg, in his Commentaries upon the same scripture, reproving the church's glorying in Paul, Cephas, &c., and quoting 2 Cor. iv. 5, ‘We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants, for Jesus sake,’ saith thus: ‘ It is not meet that the lord should glory in his servant; we are your servants, therefore,’ &c.‖
“All these, and many more call the church expressly a lord, in the very same relation with me; and yet I suppose, never man challenged them for making an idol of it, or setting up a lordly government; neither would Mr. Johnson me, had he not been immoderately jealous for the officers’ dignity.
“John Robinson. ”¶
The Leyden church continued in unbroken fellowship,. till the embarkation of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. The numbers continued to diminish by successive emigrations and removals. The few members who survived the death of Mr. Robinson in 1625, found their way across the Atlantic, and thus the church at Leyden became extinct, only to arise in greater vigour and power on the distant shores of the new-found world.
The Church Principles and Regulations of the Exiled Churches.
As a defined and invariable form, of church order is not exhibited or enjoined in the New Testament, it would be interesting to learn how Congregationalism first developed itself in the religious services of the exiles and pilgrims. Happily we are at no loss on this subject Clyfton, Bradford, Robinson, and Prince have furnished information respecting the principles and forms of worship adopted by the churches at Amsterdam, at Leyden, and by the first Congregational church in Plymouth, New England.
The venerable Mr. Clyfton, colleague of Mr. Johnson in the pastorship of the church at Amsterdam, thus describes the order of their worship:—
To this order of their service may be appended Bradford's Enumeration of Church Officers, as given in his Dialogues.†
“Truly there were in them (the churches at Amsterdam and Leyden) many worthy men; and if you had seen them in their beauty and order, as we have done, you would have been much affected therewith, we dare say. At Amsterdam, before their division and breach, they were about three hundred communicants; and they had for their pastor and teacher those two eminent men before named (Johnson and Ainsworth); and, in our time, four grave men for ruling elders, and three able and godly men for deacons, and one ancient widow for a deaconness, who did them service many years, though she was sixty years of age when she was chosen. She honoured her place, and was an ornament to the congregation. She usually sat in a convenient place in the congregation, with a little birchen rod in her hand, and kept little children in great awe from disturbing the congregation. She did frequently visit the sick and weak, and especially women; and, as there was need, called out maids and young women to watch and do them other helps, as their necessities did require; and if they were poor, she would gather relief for them of those that were able, or acquaint the deacons: and she was obeyed as a mother in Israel, and an officer of Christ.”
‘This distinction of officers—pastors, teachers, ruling elders, deacons, and deaconesses—doubtless obtained, as far as practicable, in the other churches of the exiles; and is in exact accordance with Robinson's ideal of a complete church, as described in his Catechism.*
It has been seen† “that Mr. Robinson, and a considerable portion of his companions from Scrooby, removed, after a few months’ residence, from Amsterdam to Leyden, and organized themselves into a distinct society, over which he was ordained as their pastor.‡ The constitution and officers of the church would be according to the Amsterdam model, so far as circumstances would allow.
A passage from the “Dialogues” will illustrate the Order of the Leyden church:—
“And for the church at Leyden, they (the members) were sometimes not much fewer in number, nor at all inferior in able men, though they had not so many officers as the other; for they had but one ruling elder with their pastor, a man well-approved (Mr. Brewster) and of great integrity; also they had three able men for deacons. And that which was a crown to them, they lived together in love and peace all their days, without any considerable differences or any disturbance, that grew thereby, but such as was easily healed in love; and so they continued until, with mutual consent, they removed into New England. And what their condition hath been since, some of you that are of their children do see and can tell. Many worthy and able men there were in both places (Amsterdam and Leyden), who lived and died in obscurity in respect of the world, as private Christians, yet were they precious in the eyes of the Lord, and also in the eyes of such as knew them; whose virtues we wish such of you as are their children, do follow and imitate.”*
Further light is thrown on the history of the Leyden worship and order by Robinson and Brewster's Letters to Sir John Wolstenhohne, on the subject of their proposed emigration to America.
Sir John was one of the leading members of the council of the Virginia Company, and was anxious to know the religious opinions and practices of the community over whom Robinson and Brewster presided, and wherein their practices differed from those of the reformed churches in Holland, France, &c. Insinuations had been thrown out affecting their orthodoxy and loyalty, which Sir John was desirous of disproving, if possible, by statements from the ministers of the Leyden emigrants.
“TO SIR JOHN WOLSTENHOLME, —
“Right Worshipful,—With due acknowledgment of our thankfulness for your singular care and pains in the business of Virginia, for our and (we hope) the common good, we do remember our humble duties unto you, and have sent, as is desired, a further explanation of our judgments on the three points specified by some of His Majesty's honourable privy council. And although it be grievous unto us, that such unjust insinuations are made against us, yet we are most glad of the occasion of making our just purgation unto the so honourable personages. The Declarations we have sent enclosed: the one more brief and general, which we think the fitter to be presented; the other something more large, and in which we express some small accidental differences, which, if it seem good to you and other of your worship's friends, you may send instead of the former. Our prayer unto God is, that your worship may see the fruit of your worthy endeavours, which on our part we shall not fail to further by all good means. And so praying you would with all conveniency that may be, give us knowledge of the success of the business with His Majesty's Privy Council, and accordingly what your further pleasure is, either for our direction or furtherance in the same: so we rest.
January 27, 1617.
“Declaration, No. 1.
“Touching the occlesiastical ministry, namely of pastors for teaching, elders for ruling, and deacons for distributing the church's contribution, as also for the two sacraments, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, we do wholly and in all points agree with the French Reformed Churches, according to their Public Confession of Faith: though some small differences.
The Oath of Supremacy we shall willingly take, if it be required of us, if that convenient satisfaction be not given by our taking the Oath of Allegiance.
“William Brewster. ”
“Declaration, No. 2.
“Touching the ecclesiastical ministry, namely of pastors for teaching, elders for ruling, and deacons for distributing the church's contribution, as also for the two sacraments, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, we agree in all things with the French Reformed Churches, according to their Public Confession of Faith: though some small differences be to be found in our practices, not at all in the substance of the things, but only in some accidental circumstances: as,
“Other differences, worthy mentioning, we know none.
“William Brewster. ”*
The church at Leyden was the mother-church of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, New England. During the life of Mr. Robinson, and the continuance of the church at Leyden, the two societies were essentially one. The Pilgrims did not establish a new organization: they went out according to mutual agreement as an “absolute church of themselves “already constituted, being only a branch of the church still remaining in Holland. So identical were the churches, that it was agreed that such members of the already existing church as should go to America or return, should be “reputed as members, without farther dismission or testimonial,” and therefore entitled at once to take their places at the sacramental board, and to exercise their rights in the meetings of the church.
Originally one in the members of which the churches were composed, they continued to be essentially one in religious sentiment, and ecclesiastical practices.
Dr. Cheever, in his interesting work, entitled “The Pilgrim Fathers,” has given a summary of the constitutional principles of this first church of Christ, in New England, as detailed more at large by Mr. Prince in his “New England Chronology.”
A similar representation of the church order and worship of the Pilgrim Church, is given by Mr. Punchard, in his “History of Congregationalism,” from about a.d. 250 to 1616.
The following is Dr. Cheever's enumeration of the church principles and regulations of the Plymouth church, and which are substantially those of the original churches at Leyden and Amsterdam:—
“(1.) Pastors, or teaching elders, who have the power both of overseeing, teaching, administering the sacraments, and ruling too, and being chiefly to give themselves to studying, teaching, and the spiritual care of the flock, are therefore to be maintained.
“Mere ruling elders, who are to help the pastors in overseeing and ruling, that their offices be not temporary, as among the Dutch and French Churches, but continual; and being also qualified in some degree to teach, they are to teach only occasionally, through necessity, or in their pastor's absence, or illness; but being not to give themselves to study or teaching, they have no need of maintenance.
“That the elders of both sorts form the presbytery of overseers and rulers, which should be in every particular church; and are in Scripture called, sometimes presbyters, or elders; sometimes bishops, or overseers; and sometimes rulers.
“(2.) Deacons, who are to take care of the poor, and of the church's treasure; to distribute for the support of the pastor, the supply of the needy, the propagation of religion, and to minister at the Lord's table, &c.
“7. That these officers, being chosen and ordained, have no lordly, arbitrary, or imposing power, but can only rule and minister with the consent of the brethren.
“8. That no churches, or church officers whatever, have any power over any church or officers, to control or impose upon them; but are equal in their rights and privileges, and ought to be independent in the exercise and enjoyment of them.
“9. As to church administrations, they held that baptism is a seal of the covenant of grace, and should be dispensed only to visible believers, with their unadult children; and this in primitive purity, as in the times of Christ and his apostles, without the sign of the cross, or any other invented ceremony. And that the church or its officers have no authority to inflict any penalties of a temporal nature; excommunication being wholly spiritual, in a rejection of the scandalous from the communion of the church.
“10. And lastly, as for holy days. They were very strict for the observation of the Lord's-day; in a pious memory of the incarnation, birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and benefits of Christ; as also solemn fastings and thanksgiving, as the state of providence requires. But all other times not prescribed in Scripture, they utterly relinquished. And, as in general, they could not conceive anything a part of Christ's religion, which he has not required, they therefore renounced all human right of inventing, and much less of imposing it on others.”
“These,” says Mr. Prince, “were the main principles of that scriptural and religious liberty, for which this people suffered in England, fled to Holland, traversed the ocean, and sought a dangerous retreat in these remote and savage deserts of North America; that here they might fully enjoy them, and leave them to their last posterity.”*
Hanb. Hist. Mem. vol. i. p. 62. Hist. of Corpus Christi, Camb. By R. Masters, B.D. 1753, 4to. page 229.
Harleian Miscel. orig. ed. 4to., vol. iv. page 326.
Ainsworth's Apology, 1604, pages 89–95.
Hanb. Hist. Mem. vol. i. page 49; Young's Chronicles, page 433.
Young's Chron. pages 424, 5.
Hanb. Hist, Mem.vol i. page 87.
Hanb. Hist. Mem. vol. i. page 78. Strype's Whitgift, App xviii. Bk. iv. page 176.
Johnson's Answer to Maister H. Jacob, his Defence, &c. 1600, p. 29
Governor Bradford's Dialogues in Young's Chronicles, pages 439–440
Doubtless the Mr. Staresmore referred to in Mr. Robinson's letter to the Church in London, page 384, supra.
“These fathers of Independency, in that old house of the seventeenth [or rather sixteenth] century, with hearts panting for religious liberty, their hands locked in each other, and solemnly vowing before God, to follow the light he should grant them, has in it a touch of the moral sublime, which, though the background of the picture differs, and the spirit which animated that forgotten band was peaceful instead of warlike, reminds us of the oath of Rutli, and the three-and-thirty who clasped hands under the Seelisberg, by the Lake of Uri, swearing before God the famous league of Swiss liberty.” — Stoughton's Spiritual Heroes, p, 92, second edit. Hanb. Hist. Mem. vol. i. p. 293.
Hanb. Hist. Mem. v. i. p. 293.
Ibid. p. 235.
An Answer &c., by Will. Euring, pages 7–9.
Life of Jessey, p. 8.
Neal, vol. i. ch. vi.
Crosby, Hist. Bap. vol. iii. p. 40.
Life of Wadsworth, worth, printed for Thomas Parkhmrst, 1680.
Benjamin Hanbury, Esq. the senior deacon of the Church, and the venerable compiler of the “Historical Memorials relating to the Independents or Congregationalists: from their Rise to the Restoration of the Monarchy, a.d. mdclx.,”3 vols. 8 vo., London, 1839, so frequently referred to in the notes of this work. The “Memorials” are a valuable compendium of all the extant or known writings of the Independent and Congregationalist brotherhood, during the period specified in the title-page. They supply authentic materials for the History of Independency. No ecclesiastical library can be complete without the “Memorials,” nor should any Nonconformist, especially, deem his library properly furnished without these precious records of the life, labours, and writings of his noble ancestors. Mr. Hanbury is also well known in the literary world by his edition of “The Ecclesiastical Polity, and other works of Richard Hooker,” &c, 3 vols., 8vo., London, 1830—to which he has supplied numerous and copious illustrative notes, and “Life of Thomas Cartwright, B.D.;” and by various other publications.
Vide Steven's History of the Scottish Church, Rotterdam, 8vo. 1833; Sumner's Memoirs of the Pilgrims at Leyden, Appendix, No. 1, page 24; Rev. A. S. Thelwell's Preface to the Heidelberg Catechism of the Reformed Religion, reprinted in London, 1851.
Vide Price's History of Nonconformity; Fletcher's History of Independency; Martyrs of Nonconformity in the Days of Queen Elizabeth, by the Anti-State-Church Association; and the Dutch Martyrology, by Hanserd Knollys Society.
Vide Fuller's Church History, book ix. page 168; Biographia Britannica, sub. Non.; Neal's Hist. Pur. vol. i. page 301, 8vo. Ed. 1822; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, vol. ii. page 366; Hanb. Hist. Mem. vol. i. chap. ii.; Ben. Underhill's Preface to Broadmead Records, by Hanserd Knollys Society. But especially Joseph Fletcher's History of Independency, vol. ii. pages 97–130; vol. iii. pages 41–44.
Vide Appendix, No. I. page 440, supra.
Vide vol. ii. page 59, note.
Vide vol. i. page 452, note; vol. iii. page 155, note; with pages 168, 169.
Vide Brook's Love of the Puritans, vol. ii. page 306; Life of Ainsworth, prefixed to his “Communion of Saints,” reprinted in Edinburgh, page 1789; Hanb. Hist. Memorials, vol. i. chaps, v., x., xvi., xviii.
The controversy between Johnson and Ainsworth is referred to by Neal, Brook, Hanbury, Fletcher, Young in his Chronicles of the Pilgrims, Stuart in his Life of Ainsworth, and more fully by Clyfton, in his “Advertisement,” and Ainsworth, in his “Animadversion” on Clyfton's Advertisement.
Vide Bradford Dialogues in Young's Chronicles, page 453.
Vide reference to Mr. de Lescluse, page 127, supra.
“An Advertisement concerning a Book lately published by Christopher Lawne and others, against the exiled Church at Amsterdam, by Richard Clyfton, teacher of the same Church.” 1612.
Vide Ainsworth's Animadversion to Mr. Richard Clyfton, &c. pages 133–136.
vide vol. ii. pages 228, 236.
Vide vol. ii. Justif. of Separation, pages 141–144.
Vide vol. ii. page 237.
Vide vol. ii., Justification, &c., pages 228–230.
Vol. ii. page 236.
Major in minore.
Non convenit Dominum gloriari in servo suo, &c.
Vide Ainsworth's Animadversion, pages 111–117.
An Advertisement concerning a Book, &c., by Richard Clyfton. 1612. 4to. Amsterdam.
Young's Chronicles, page 455.
Vide Question 14 in Catechism, page 429, supra.
Vide Appendix ii., page 466, supra.
Vide vol. i., page 463.
Young's Chronicles, page 456.
Vide Bradford's History of the Plymouth Colony, in Young's Chronicles, pages 63–65.
Vide Prince's New England Chronology, part iv., sect. 1, pages 91–93. Cheever's Pilgrim Fathers, pages 160–164. Punchard's History of Congregationalism, pages 361–363.