s I, 124 LIVES OF TIIE PURITANS. Coverdale had submitted to wear the habits, in the late reign, he now, with many other celebrated divines, laid them aside.. At this early period, there were many persons in the kingdom, who, besides the papists, were nonconformable to the established church. They refused to have their children baptized, and differed in some points of doctrine from the national creed. These, out of reproach, were denominated anabaptists. Also, there were many others who administered the sacraments in other manner than as prescribed by the Book of Common. Prayer, set forth by public authority. Therefore to prevent these persons from propagating their opinions, and to bring them to conformity, a commission was issued to thirty-one persons, empowering them to correct and punish these nonconformists. Among those in the commission were Cranmer, Latimer, Parker, and Cover- dale ; but it does not appear whether any of the noncon- formists were prosecuted by them.t Coverdale being ever celebrated for peace and moderation, would undoubtedly disapprove of all such measures. This excellent divine, while he was Bishop of Exeter, conducted himself in a manner worthy of his high office. Like a true primitive bishop, lie was a constant preacher, , and much given to hospitality. He was sober and tempe- rate in all things, holy and blameless, friendly to good rnen, liberal to the poor, courteous to all, void of pride, clothed with humility, abhorring covetousness and every scene of vice. His house was a little church, in which was exercised ad virtue and godliness. He suffered no one to abide under his roof; who could not give some satis- factory account of his faith and hope, and whose life did not correspond with his profession. He was not, however, without his enemies. Because he was a constant and faithful preacher of the gospel, an avowed enemy to all supersti- tion and popery, and a most upright worthy man, his adversaries sought to have him disgraced : sometimes by secret backbiting; sometimes by open raillery ; and some- times by false accusation. Indeed, their malice is said to have been carried to so great a length, that they endea- voured at last to poison him ; but through the good provi- dence of God, their snares were broken, and he was delivered out of their hands4 Coverdale having continued in the episcopal office * Neal's Puritans, vol. i. p. 65. C Strype's Parker, p. 27. t Clark's Lives, p. 4.