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"But to prevent such disorders and inconveniences as may happen by this our indulgence, if not duly regulated, and that they may be the better protected by the several magistrates, our express will and pleasure is that none of our subjects do presume to meet in any place until such place be allowed, and the teacher of that congregation approved by us.'

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Mr. Andrew Gifford, of Bristol, appears to have been one of the carliest of the Baptists who availed himself of this act of indulgence, which was, indeed, said to have been a deep laid scheme of the King, under the plausible pretence of toleration TO INTRODUCE POPERY.

The license of Andrew Gifford, from which an extract is furnished, is to the following effect :-"We do hereby permit and license Andrew Gifford, of our city of Bristol, of the persuasion commonly called Baptists, to be a teacher, and teach in any place licensed and allowed by us, according to our said declaration. Given at our Court, at Whitehall, the twenty-fifth day of September, in the twelfth year of our reign, 1672. GIFFORD, a Teacher.

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'By His Majesty's Command,


This act of indulgence not answering the King's purpose for the introduction of Popery, was SOON AFTER ABROGATED, AND FRESH SHACKLES WERE FORGED for Nonconformists.

THE TEST ACT was passed in 1673, by which Dissenters were effectually prevented from holding any place under Government, without prostituting so solemn an ordinance of Christ, by receiving the Lord's Supper according to the usuage of the Church of England, in some parish church on some Lord's day, immediately after divine service and sermon.


Baptists and other Nonconformists would alike share in the persecution consequent upon such an intolerant act.

In 1675, many professions of respect were made in the House of Lords for the Protestant Dissenters; and the Duke of Buckingham proposed to bring in a bill of indulgence.

“Though this was doubtless the pretext to encourage Popery, yet it is probable the Bapti-ts were willing to take the opportunity it afforded them of devising means to promote the interest of the denomination. In proof of this, we find that the London ministers addressed a circular letter to the churches both in England and Wales, inviting their brethren of the Baptist persuasion to meet the following May, in the metropolis, with a view to form a plan for the providing an orderly standing ministry in the church, who might give

Ivimey, vol. 1, p. 31.

themselves to reading and study, and so become able ministers of the New Testament. The letter bore date the 2d of the eighth month, 1675, and was signed by most of the London pastors, among whom were Daniel Dyke, William Collins, and William Kiffin."*

It is probable, however, that the severity of persecution against the Nonconformists prevented their meeting.

"It, however, proves that the learned men who were among the Baptists and pastors of the churches, were very desirous of providing a LEARNED MINISTRY, which could not now be expected, without establishing seminaries of their own, as the universities and public schools were shut against them."+

About 1683, very violent measures were adopted towards all denominations of Dissenters, and several eminent Baptists became great sufferers. It may be noticed that Mr. Thomas Delaune, the champion of Nonconformity, suffered great hardships in prison, where he died.

Defoe remarks of this writer-" The treatment which the renowned and learned author of the Plea for Nonconformity, (a book perfect of itself,) will for ever stand as a monument of the cruelty of those times."

"They who affirm that the Dissenters were never persecuted in England for their religion, will do well to tell us what name we shall give to the sufferings of this man of merit; than whom few greater scholars, cleverer heads, or greater masters of argument, ever graced the English nation."‡

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The period has now arrived for a notice of the particular circumstances which led to the adoption of the Confession of Faith of 1677 (the articles of which were subsequently mainly adopted by the Assembly of 1689.) It appears that, in 1677, there was an assembly of the pastors and elders of the Baptist Churches, both in London and in the country. This gathering was probably in consequence of the letter sent in October, 1675. They agreed to set forth Confession of Faith," said to be done by the elders and brethren of many congregations of Christians (baptized upon profession of their faith) in London and in the country. The motto is, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth con'fession is made unto salvation." Rom. x., 10. "Search the Scriptures." John v., 39. "Printed in the year 1677."||

There are no names to this confession. A further reference to this interesting document will be given in due course.

During the remaining part of this King's reign "the persecution of

* Ivimey, vol. 1, p. 415.
Ivimey, vol. 1, pp. 403, 404.

† Ivimey, vol. 1, p. 416.

Ivimey, vol. 1, p. 421.

the Nonconformists was continued, and carried on, says Neal, to a pitch hardly to be paralleled in a Protestant nation. Doctor Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, published a letter for putting the laws in execution against the Dissenters, in concurrence with another drawn up by the Justices of the Peace, at Bedford, bearing date January 14, 1684. Many were cited into the Spiritual Courts, excommunicated, and ruined. Two hundred warrants of distress were issued out upon private persons and families in the town and neighbourhood of Uxbridge, for frequenting conventicles, or not coming to church. The Baptists appear to have had their full share in the sufferings of these times."

It is not desirable to dwell further upon the ecclesiastical events of this reign. King Charles II. died February, 1685.

James, Duke of York, his brother, succeeded to the throne, who did not at all disguise his affection for Popery; for on the first Lord's day after his accession he went publicly to mass.

The parliament, a large number of whom were professed Protestants, to shew their conforming spirit to the King's wishes, and to gratify his passion for revenge against those who had been averse to his accession on account of his religion, presented an address to his Majesty, May 27, to desire him to issue a royal proclamation to put the penal laws into execution AGAINST DISSENTERS FROM THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. The opposition to them now became as severe as it had ever been in the late King's reign. The Duke of Monmouth's rebellion gave the Court a plausible excuse for carrying it to the utmost extreme. There is no doubt but many Dissenters engaged in this ill-timed and ill-fated expedition, which terminated in the destruction of almost all who engaged in it.

"In 1687, the King was resolved to humble the Church of England, because many of that community were not willing to go all the length he wished, though they had constantly professed the doctrines of non-resistance and passive obedience. For this purpose he began to flatter the Dissenters with promises of his favour, and endeavoured by his agents to persuade them to accept the kindness of the King, and to concur with him in his design."*

Though the Dissenters had been an oppressed people, yet they were a powerful and respectable class of the community; and notwithstanding so many of them had left the country through persecution, they were still very numerous. Burnet says, "The Dissenters at this time were divided into four main bodies, the Presbyterians,

* Ivimey, vol. 1, p. 467.


the Independents, the Anabaptists, and the Quakers." presents a comparative view of these four sects. Of the Anabaptists, he says, "they were generally men of virtue and of universal charity and as they were FAR FROM BEING ON ANY TREATING TERMS with the Church of England, so nothing but A UNIVERSAL TOLERATION could make them capable of favour or employment."

The enormous extent to which Dissenters had suffered during the reigns of Charles II. and James II. may be learned from the following truly deplorable statistics of persecution and endurance in England::

In the preface of Delaune's work upon Nonconformity, it is stated that "Delaune was one of near eight thousand Protestant Dissenters who had perished in the reign of King Charles II., and that merely for dissenting from the church in some points which they were able to give good reason for; and yet for no other cause, says he, were they stifled, I had almost said murdered, in jails. As for the severe penalties inflicted on them for seditious and riotous assemblies, designed only for the worship of God, he adds, that they suffered in their trades and estates, within the compass of three years, at least £2,000,000; and doubts, whether in all the times since the Reformation, including the reign of Queen Mary, there can be produced any thing like such a number of Christians who have suffered death; and such numbers who have lost their substance for religion."

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Another writer adds, "that Mr. Jeremy White had carefully collected a list of the dissenting sufferers, and of their sufferings; and had the names of sixty thousand persons who had suffered on a religious account, between the restoration of King Charles II. and the revolution of King William, FIVE THOUSAND OF WHOM DIED IN PRISON !"†

In addition to those who suffered in England "many transported themselves and their effects into Holland, and filled the English churches of Amsterdam, the Hague, Utrecht, Leyden, Rotterdam, and other parts. If we admit the dissenting families of the several denominations in England to be one hundred and fifty thousand, and that each family suffered no more than the loss of £3 or £4 per annum, from the act of uniformity, the whole will amount to twelve or fourteen millions; a prodigious sum for those times! But these are only conjectures; the damage to the trade and property of the nation was undoubtedly immense; and the wounds that were made in the estates of private families were deep and large, many of whom, to my certain knowledge, wear the scars of them to this day.”‡

*Neal's History, vol. 5, p. 19. + History of the Stuarts, p. 715.
+ Neal's History, vol 5, p. 20.

It is impossible to form an accurate estimate of the number of sufferers, or to give an account of the damages his Majesty's dissenting subjects of the several denominations sustained, by the persecutions of this and the last reign. Many families were impoverished and reduced to beggary. Many lives were lost in prisons and noisome jails. Many ministers were separated from their people, and forced to live, as they could, five miles from a corporation, Many industrious and laborious tradesmen were cut off from their trades, and their substance and household goods plundered by soldiers, or divided among idle and infamous informers. The vexatious suits of the commons, and the expenses of those courts, were immense.

The remaining brief period of James II.'s reign furnishes but few incidents material to notice. The ever memorable year 1688 saw the termination of the Stuart dynasty in this country.

"The glorious revolution of 1688" placed William and Mary on the British Throne-an event hailed by all the friends of religious freedom. The Baptists were amongst the foremost to tender their congratulations, and to offer their expressions of loyalty and affection. The following extract from a declaration attached to the Confession of Faith of 1689, will exhibit their feelings, and will be read with interest. They declare "their most hearty and united determination to venture their all for the Protestant religion, and the liberties of their native country," &c. "And we do," say they, "with great thankfulness to God, acknowledge his special goodness to these nations, in raising up our present King William, to be a blessed instrument in his hand, TO DELIVER US FROM POPERY AND ARBITRARY POWER; and shall always, as in duty bound, pray that the Lord may continue him and his royal consort long to be a blessing to these kingdoms; and shall always be ready, to the utmost of our ability, in our places, to join our hearts and hands, with the rest of our Protestant brethren, for the preservation of the Protestant religion, and the liberties of the nation."

From such sentiments it will be clear that the Baptists were a devotedly loyal people, and ardently attached to Protestant principles.

The persecutions to which Nonconformists had been subjected during the previous reigns were principally for their maintenance of principles contrary to those of the established religion of the times; thus, for example, in the reign of Henry, Catholics were persecuted for their nonconformity to Protestantism, and Dissenting Protestants for their nonconformity to the King's creed.

In the reign of Mary, Catholicism being the then established

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