Page images
PDF
EPUB

other things, he declares, that only for the title of one of his books, viz. de filiatione

Christi,

?* their hands, and suffer such pestilent heretics to nestle c.c among them, he fliould depart and separate himself f from such false and heretical churches, and also exhort "all other reformed churches tojoin with him in a comV mon council, how to extinguish and remand to hell (f3^6. "those abominable heretics (4)."— But notwithstanding these threatnings, Vcrflius came to Leyden. This caused Winwood to present himself before the States, who in a set speech backed his master's letters, and gave in a catalogue of VorJiha\ errors. But the States answered coldly, and nothing to "Jamei's expectation. TVinivood therefore, according to his orders, protested against the States receiving Vorstim; and at length an answer was given by them more fatisfactory to James. This pleased him, but still in his writings he went on to expose the proseflbr, and entered into a very tedious and insipid reply to his apology for his writings. This was the

treatment which a man of piety, parts, and learning met with from James, upon account of some metaphysical reasonings on the nature and attributes of God, and an error which he held with some of the fathers, (<)S«Du- concerning the. corporeity of deity (e), I should not pin's hist. ef wonder to hear an inquisitor talk after the manner h^ writers Vol. cM » it would only be in the way of his prosession. But, I. p. 91. I own, I can hardly tell how to bear such language from Joi. Lond. a prosessed protestant, and a temporal prince. And it "2* excites my indignation to behold a man who made no

scruple of breaking the laws of the gospel, and living in defiance of God himself, by acting counter to his commands : I fay it fills me with indignation to hear such a one making a loud cry about heresy, and stirring up men to punish it. But thus it has been, thus, perhaps, U always will be. The greatest persecutors have been some of the most wicked and abandoned of men. Without a sense of God, or religion on their minds, they have pretended to be actuated by a great zeal sor them;

5

Christi, an author so suspected as he, is worthy of the faggot; and that if he had been

his

3nd covered with tbjs pretence they haye gone on, even with the applause of the superstitious and bigotted, to

glut their ambition, their pride, their revenge.. —r ,

James is faid to have been excited to declare against Forfiius, by Abbot, archbishopi of Canterbury (f) ; and (/) Abridges not unlikely. Most of the ecclesiastics of that time ment of abounded with a fiery zeal, which frequently hurried ^"^'^ them into actions not to be justified. But had not James reformation had an inclination %o the work, Abbot would not haveofthe sow been able to have prevailed upon him to undertake |t.'yTMJ"'5* He thought, doubtless, that he should acquire fresh hor 318. sVo'. nour by his pen ; that his people would applaud his zeal,Lond-?72Sv and, hold in admiration his piety; and 'tis not to be "ood y*^ doubted but many were imposed on by him. However III.p. ij6. Sir Ralph Winwood did not escape censure at home, for what he had done in this affair. He had protested, as, I had just observed, against the States receiving of VorJiius; but he added also, that he protested against the violence offered unto the alliance between his majesty and those provinces, which, faid he, " being founded upon. fi the preservation and maintenance of the reformed , "religion, you have not letted (so much as in you lies) "absolutely to violate in the proceeding of this cause

^ (i)" James, when he first heard of this, faid,(g) King

Winwood hath done fecundu?n cor meum: but soon after- **mT S

wards he changed his note, and faid " the protest was 363.

"made at an unreasonable time, when he was to re

"ceive kindness (namely reimbursement of money) at

". the States hands; and so calling for the copies of his

'* letters, found that the ambassador had exceeded his

il commission, in protesting against the alliance which

"should have been but against the religion (h)" This," W]-n.

it is to serve weak princes ; they take up their resolu-wood, Vol.

tions without consideration, and are soon turned fromII'* P. ll9'

them. To-day their servants are commended,.to-mor

fp.w blamed for following their instructions. So that

", ."»'• 1+ liui?

hi6 own subject, he would have forced him to have confessed those wicked here-: sjes that were rooted in his heart; and I doubt not but he would have been as goo(j

as

little reputation is to be got in their employment. Win,' wood received notice of this, "but the wiser part of the "world (lays his friend Mr. John More to him) consi"derihg the tenor of his majesty's sharp letter to the "States, and how often, in open discourse, he hath "threatned not only to write, but to fight against them, "rather than ftr/litfs should rest at Leyden, will more "readily conclude that his majesty varieth in himself, (i) W!n- "tnan th^t you have erred (/')." At length, however, YTM*' i ••* Wlmpood had the pleasure of hearing that his majesty held him in his favour, and spoke well of him j but for Vorjiius, he was obliged, through these solicitations of James, to renounce provisionally his employment, and leave Leyden, and expect elsewhere a definitive sentence concerning this dispute. He retired to Gouda about May 1612, where he lived, quiet till the year 1619, when he was forced to leaye Holland; for the synod of Dort having declared him unworthy of the professor's chair, the states of the province deprived him of that employment, and condemned him to a perpetual ba

(*) BajU'* nishment (Æ.j. :So fad a thing it is for private men tci

dictionary,^ jjave prinCeS for tnejr adverfaries! right or wrong they flius (Con- must submit, and cannot make resistance. Tho' how; 1*&.) honourable it is, for princes to attack such, the reader,

will determine.

I vyiH conclude (his no^e with observing that this declaration of James against Vorjlius, was printed in French, Latin, Dutch,, and English,, and consequently, his monstrous zeal, h.is unprincely revilings, and his weak and pitisul reasonings were known throughout (/)Win. Europe (/). But after all, 1 presume, it was held in, wood, vol. fmaji account. For Mr. Norton, who" had the print(m) u'fher'V" inS of ll in Latin, swore he would not print it, uni Jeucrs,p.i3-" less he might have money to print it (m).'\

as his word; for soon after he caused two of his own subjects to be burnt for heresy

(zz)

'Tis

[%%) He caused two of his own subjects to be burnt for heresy.] The names of these two were Bartholomew Legate, and Edward Wightman, The first of these was a man of great skill in the scriptures, and his converfation unblamable. His errors were somewhat of the fame kind with those attributed to Socinus; and withal he had the hardiness to fay, that the Nicene and Athanasian creeds contain not a prosession of the true christian faith. "James caused him to be brought to him, and attempted his conversion; but when he found that he was intractable, he dismissed him with a contemptuous speech ; and afterwards by the bishops being declared an incorrigible heretic, he gave orders to direct the writ de hæretico comburendo to the sheriffs of London, and in Smithfield he was burned to afhes^ '\Vnat Wightman was, or what his errors, is hard to fay. The heresies of Ebioti, Cerinthus, Valentinian, Arrius, Macedonius, Simon Magits, Manes Manichaus, Pbotinus, and the Anabaptijis, were reckoned up against him in the warrant for his burning; but, probably, he knew not what they meant thereby, any more than they themselves did who inserted them in his accufation. They were hard words, and they thought, it may be, that they would terrify and affright. However this is certain, that for his errors, whatever they were, he was burnt at Litchfield (a). These executions were in the year j611. (a) Fuller's

James had another heretic to exercise his zeal on also ;church hist, but seeing those that suffered were much pitied, he""l*1?very mercisully let him linger out his lise in Newgate. p< ^, $. Had I not reason then to fay, that I doubted not James would have been as good as his word, in making VorJiius consess his heresies, had he been his subject? I make no doubt but that he would have used his endeavours; and if these had failed, would have treated him as bad as he did Legate and Wightman, For he had the

'Tis very remarkable, that in this decla? ration against Vbrjlius> he falls foul on the

name

spirit of an inquisitor: no pity, no compassion was within him: he had no sense of the worth of those men who preserred a good conscience before all things; he thought 'twas only obstinacy in them, and therefore deemed them worthy of punishment. So easy is it for men who have no principles themselves, to censure and condemn those who are truly honest and sincere. I wish for the honour of human nature, for the honour of Christianity, and the honour of the reformation, that no such instances of persecution had been to be found; but, as we cannot blot them out, we ought to set a mark on those who occasioned them, that so their names may be treated with that indignation they so justly merit. Since the writing the above, by means of a very worthy friend, I have got sight of the commissions and warrants for the condemnation and burning of Legate and Wigbtman. The commissions are directed to Thomas lord El/mere, chancellor of England. The warrant for the burning Legate is addressed to the Sheriffs of London, the other for Wigbtman, to the Sheriff of Litchfield. By the commissions the chancellor is ordered to award and make out, under the great seal of England, writs of execution; and the sheriffs by the warrant, are required to commit the heretics to the fire. The heresies of Legate are (as J have represented, them from Fuller) reckoned up as the reason for putting him to death. As for what is charged to Wightman s account, if it be true, (for great doubt is to be made of the truth of persecutors) he was certainly an enthusiast, but, for aught appears, a harmless one ; for he is charged with holding, that " he was the prophet "spoken of in the eighteenth of Deuteronomy in these "words, I will rise them up a prophet, &c. and that ". this place of Ifaiah, I alone have trodden the wine"press; and that other place, whose fan is in his hand, ?' are proper and personal to him the faid Edward

"Wight

« PreviousContinue »