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try, fourteen or fifteen days' journey, in which march they were obliged to climb up high mountains, force divers strait passes, well guarded by soldiers, with swords in their hands, till at length they reached their valleys, of which they took possession, and in which, under the singular protection of Providence, they maintained themselves, successfully encountering their enemies who at any time assaulted them *.”
Here seems to be a proper place, before the history of this period is closed, to notice a noble and generous exertion of a few dissenters, which has with great good effect been resumed and perpetuated to the present times. It was the founding a school in Gravel-lane, Southwark, for the instruction of children in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the girls in sewing and knitting, and furnishing them with books for their instruction in these arts, and with Testaments, catechisms, and Bibles. One Poulton had opened a school in these parts, and given public notice that he would teach the children of the poor gratis. To counteract his designs, and to afford the poor an easy opportunity of having their children educated in Protestant principles, three worthy gentlemen, Mr. Arthur Shallet, Mr. Samuel Warburton, and Mr. Ferdinando Holland, members of Mr. Nathaniel Vincent's church, instituted this seminary, which has continued ever since, maintained by voluntary subscriptions, annual collections, and legacies. The number of scholars at first was forty; afterward it increased to fifty ; then to one hundred and forty; and has since been two hundred. It was the first institution of the kind wherein the Protestant dissenters were concerned; and into its objects are received without distinction of party. Such an institution has the merit of being a rational, fair, and benevolent mode of opposing superstition and bigotry, abridging no one's security and rights, and leaving the event to the operation of knowledge and understanding; and it reflects honour on the spirit and resolution of its first founders, who set it on foot in the reign of the tyrannical and bigoted prince, James II., when the dissenters had scarcely emerged out of a state of persecution.
Calamy's History of his Own Times, MS. Dr. Calamy was told several remarkable particulars concerning this march by Mr. Arnold, who came afterward to England to solicit the assistance of king William. One was, that when they were come pretty near to their valleys, they were in such straits for provisions, that they were in great fear of starving. But there came a sudden thaw, which in a night's time melted the snow, and in the morning they discovered a considerable quantity of wheat standing in the earth, ready for the sickle, which had been left there from the preceding summer, and had been covered all winter by the snow; the sudden fall prevented the proprietors from reaping it at the proper season. These destitute people beheld it with admiration and thankfulness, reaped it with joy, and were supported by it after their return into their valleys, where, without such a supply, they might have perished. Another resource, especially for their ministers and schoolmasters, was derived from the overplus of the collections made for them in England, during the protectorship of Cromwell, which had been lodged by them, when their wants had been effectually relieved, in the hands of the magistrates of Geneva, on condition of receiving such an allowance from year to year as was agreed, on. Calamy, ut supra.
It will not, it is presumed, be thought beneath the importance and dignity of general history, to mention here two small publications which the press produced at this period; especially as the history, through which the reader has been led, records the virtuous and manly struggles made to secure the liberty of writing and publishing on the subject of religion, according to the views any might entertain, and exhibits memoirs of the progress of theological inquiries. The importance of publications is also to be estimated, not by the number of pages, but by the nature of the subject, the ability with which they are executed, and the effect they produced, or the impression they were calculated to leave, on the public mind.
One of the pieces, both anonymous, to which we refer, was entitled, “ A brief History of the Unitarians, called also Socinians : in four Letters to a Friend." The publisher, to whom they were written, having left them some time with a gentleman, a person of excellent learning and worth, they were returned to him with a letter, expressing great approbation of them, which was printed with each edition. The first of these letters represented the Unitarian doctrine concerning the unity of God, the humanity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, as the power and inspiration of God; aimed to conform and prove it by a series of scriptural arguments, and closed with a concise history of it. The design of the three following letters, was to reply to the arguments of the orthodox; and, that the answer might be full and satisfactory, they were occupied in the illustration of all the texts usually alleged as proofs of the Trinitarian doctrine. The passages out of the Old Testament are first explained, then those out of the Gospels and Acts, and lastly those out of the Epistles and the Revelations. This mode of discussing a question, which depends purely on divine revelation, will be admitted to be proper and fair. It shewed that the author was not afraid to lodge his appeal with the Scriptures, and it was adapted to lead the reader into an investigation of their meaning according to the rules of sober criticism and just explanation. It went, particularly, to obviate a reflection cast upon the Unitarians, as exalting their reasonings above the plain and express revelation of the Scriptures. The first edition of this tract was in 12mo, in 1687. It was afterward reprinted in a collection of Unitarian Tracts, in quarto, 1691.
The other tract published at this period, which I have mentioned as worthy of particular notice, was entitled, “ A Rational Catechism.” It was distinguished, not only by the good sense, and the vein of close but familiar reasoning which ran through it, but by the peculiar method in which it was drawn up. Catechisms, in general, have consisted principally, if not solely, of speculative points, drawn from the theological systems of the day, and of the country where they are published. These are conveyed in an authoritative manner, as absolutely necessary to salvation; and
are to be committed to memory, without any attempt to prove them by reasoning level to the capacity of the learner. The author of this tract, conceiving that neglecting to examine into the bottom of things, was the cause of that variety of opinions whence arose rash judgments, animosities, hatreds, and persecution, began his piece with the first principles discernible in human nature; and, avoiding all sentiments controverted amongst Christians, confined himself to such truths only as all agree in, and which lead directly unto practice, professing not to advance every thing that he might think useful, but only what he judged most useful. The dialogue, into which form the work is thrown, divides itself into three parts ; the principles of natural religion; those of Christianity, or the great advantages derived from the gospel; and the rules of conduct which it supplies. The instructions and conclusions which the catechumen is led, in a great degree, to draw for himself, and by his own reflections, arise in a chain of reasoning from this principle, " that every man seeks happiness;" which happiness must be, principally, mental and spiritual. The means of attaining to it in the knowledge of God and the practice of his will are hence gradually developed. This piece is ascribed to Mr. Popple. It was first printed by licence, in 1688; another edition of it appeared 1690, 12mo. And it was reprinted at Amsterdam in 1712.
• Preface to the work. Hollis's Memoirs, p. 263 ; and a Critical Review of it in the Bibliothèque Universelle Historique, tom. 9. p. 95, &c.
END OF THE SUPPLEMENT.
A declaration of certain principal articles of religion, set out by order
of both archbishops, metropolitans, and the rest of the bishops, for the unity of doctrine to be taught and holden of all parsons, vicars, and curates : as well in testification of their common consent in the said doctrine, to the stopping of the mouths of them that go about to slander the ministers of the church for diversity of judgment, and as necessary for the instruction of their people, to be read by the said parsons, vicars, and curates, at their possession taking, or first entry into their cures ; and also, after that yearly, at two several times; that is to say, the Sunday next following Easter-day, and St. Michael the Archangel, or on some other Sunday within one
month after those feasts, immediately after the Gospel. FORASMUCH as it appertaineth to all Christian men, but especially to the ministers and pastors of the church, being teachers and instructors of others, to be ready to give a reason of their faith when they shall be thereunto required ; 1, for my part, now appointed your parson, vicar, or curate, having before mine eyes the fear of God, and the testimony of my conscience, do acknowledge for myself, and require you to assent to the same;
1. “ That there is but one living and true God, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things; and that in unity of this Godhead, there be three persons of one substance, of equal power and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
2. “ I believe also whatsoever is contained in the holy canonical Scriptures, in the which Scriptures are contained all things necessary to salvation ; by the which, also, all errors and heresies may sufficiently be reproved and convicted, and all doctrines and articles necessary to salvation are established. I do also most firmly believe and confess all the articles contained in the three creeds; the Nicene creed, Athanasius's creed, and our common creed, called the Apostles' creed; for these do briefly contain the principal articles of our faith, which are at large set forth in the Holy Scriptures.
3. “I do acknowledge also that church to be the spouse of Christ, wherein the word of God is truly taught, the sacraments orderly ministered according to Christ's institution, and the authority of the keys duly used: and that every such particular church hath authority to institute, to change, and clean to put away, ceremonies, and other ecclesiastical rights, as they be superfluous or abused; and to constitute others, making more to seemliness, to order, or edification.
4. “ Moreover I confess, that it is not lawful for any man to take upon him any office or ministry, either ecclesiastical or secular, but such only as are lawfully thereunto called by the high authorities, according to the ordinances of the realm.
5. “Furthermore, I do acknowledge the queen's majesty's prerogative and superiority of government of all estates, and in all causes, as well ecclesiastical as temporal, within this realm and other her dominions and countries, to be agreeable to God's word, and of right to appertain to her highness, in such sort as in the late act of parliament expressed, and since then by her majesty's injunctions declared and expounded.
6. “Moreover, touching the bishop of Rome, I do acknowledge and confess, that by the Scriptures and the word of God, he hath no more authority than other bishops have in their provinces and diocesses, and therefore the power which he now challengeth, that is, to be the supreme head of the universal church of Christ, and so to be above all emperors, kings, and princes, is a usurped power, contrary to the Scriptures and word of God, and contrary to the example of the primitive church ; and therefore is for most just causes taken away and abolished in this realm.
7. “ Furthermore, I do grant and confess that the book of common prayer and administration of the holy sacraments, set forth by the authority of parliament, is agreeable to the Scriptures ; and that it is catholic and apostolic, and most for the advancing of God's glory, and the edifying of God's people : both for that it is in a tongue that may be understood of the people, and also for the doctrine and form of administration contained in the same.
8. “ And although in the administration of baptism there is neither exorcism, oil, salt, spittle, or hallowing of the water, now used ; and for that they were of late years abused and esteemed neeessary, whereas they pertain not to the substance and necessity of the sacrament, and therefore be reasonably abolished ; yet is the sacrament full and perfectly ministered, to all intents and purposes, agreeable to the institution of our Saviour Christ.
9. “ Moreover, I do not only acknowledge, that private masses were never used amongst the fathers of the primitive church, I mean, public ministration and receiving of the sacrament by the priest alone, without a just number of communicants, according to Christ's saying,
« Take ye,
and eat ye,' &c. but also that the doctrine that maintaineth the mass to be a propitiatory sacrifice for the quick and the dead, and a mean to deliver souls out of purgatory, is neither agreeable to Christ's ordinance, nor grounded upon doctrine apostolic, but contrariwise most ungodly, and most injurious to the precious redemption of our Saviour Christ, and his only sufficient sacrifice, offered once for ever upon the altar of the cross.
10. “ I am of that mind also, that the holy communion or sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, for the due obedience to Christ's institution, and to express the virtue of the same, ought to be ministered unto the people under both kinds ; and that it is avouched by certain fathers of the church to be a plain sacrilege, to rob them of the mystical cup, for whom Christ has shed his inost precious blood,